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The Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society is glad herewith to pre- 
sent to its members, and to the general public also, its fifth successive num- 
ber of printed papers. This, with the four preceding numbers still remain- 
ing unbound, as well as copies of the bound volumes comprising those four, 
are on sale with the treasurer, H. H. Ballard, at the Athemeum in Pitts- 
field. The Society has no paid officials, and no corporate expenses what- 
ever ; all the proceeds of the sale of the separate numbers and of the bound 
volumes are scrupulously applied to the needful costs of further printing 
and binding. Any members or other persons desirous of purchasing at one 
time several of either numbers or volumes will be supplied at lessened rates. 
All our printing is done directly from types, and not from stereotyped 
plates ; the volumes, consequently, can not be duplicated, and they are cer- 
tain to become in the future both scarce and costly. 

The present pamphlet holds six papers: — (i) "Jonathan Edwards," by 
John Bascom ; (2) "Glass-making in Berkshire and Elsewhere," by W. G. 
Harding; (3) "Indian Grants in Stockbridge," by E. W. B. Canning*; (4) 
"Arnold at Quebec," by William E. Collins*; (5) " Sandisfield past and 
present," by A. W. Field ; and (6) " New York at Bennington Battle," by 
Henry D. Hall. 

The readers of these papers will of course pass their own judgments upon 
the merits of each of them ; and those who listened to the- public reading of 
the first one, may certainly be pardoned if they express the view, that since 
Jonathan Edwards left Stockbridge in 1757, no man has appeared in New 
England better qualified in every way to estimate and place him, both as a 
philosopher and theologian, than the author of this paper. 

A. L. P. 

February 27th, 1894. 



Since we are bidden to covet earnestly the best gifts, it can 
hardly require an apology that, in presenting the memorable 
persons associated with Berkshire, — the tenderness of its women 
and the strength of its men responding to the beauty of its 
valley and the grandeur of its mountains — we should lay some 
what eager hold on President Jonathan Edwards as a lawful 
prize in our historic venture ; yet, that we may seem to have won, 
and not to have stolen, our best gift, we will briefly justify our 

Jonathan Edwaids was born in 1703, at Windsor, Connecti- 
cut. He was graduated, while yet sixteen, at Yale College. 
He spent two additional years at Yale, in preparation for the 
ministry. He preached eight months in New York City. In 
the fall of twenty -four, he returned to Yale as tutor, where he 
remained two years. In 1726, he was invited to Northampton 
as colleague of Solomon Stoddard, his maternal grandfather. 
Here he remained a little more than t went} 7 -three years, the 
longest period in his life of continuous labor. His ministry at 
Northampton closed with a very bitter conflict, and President 
Edwards retired to Stockbridge, in 1751. Here he spent six 
quiet and productive years. He was invited, in the fall of fifty- 
seven, to the presidency of Princeton College. He died at 
Princeton early in the following year, before the removal of 
his family. 

One is most identified with the community in which he does 
his work, in which the ties of life are woven and tightly drawn 
under the strain of events. President Edwards would seem, 
therefore, primarily to belong to Northampton, where the 
greater share of his labor was performed. Most unfortunately, 
however, as a result of that sudden contagion of sin to which 
good men and weighty spiritual events are sometimes exposed, 

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4 Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

this tenderest, and hitherto highly prosperous, relationship was 
painfully broken up, and President Edwards, in the maturity 
of his powers, was compelled to seek at Stockbridge that spir- 
itual rest and unrestrained freedom of thought which were denied 

him at Northampton. 

If, therefore, the spirit is native to the land which it weds, 
and which weds it in turn, to the land where God's hand shel- 
ters it from the strife of tongues, then Northampton must waive 
its otherwise fitting claims in favor of the Hills of Berkshire, 
among which this Elijah of his day was so long hidden. The 
descendants of President Edwards felt and indicated this sen- 
timent in holding their reunion at Stockbridge, rather than at 
Northampton. However we choose to settle the less or greater 
rights of the two communities, it is plain that Berkshire is not 
wrong in bringing a full measure of honor to one who loved 
and honored it. 

President Edwards, taking so early a part in our local history, 
good in his greatness and great in his goodness, invites our 
patriotic and reverent regard. Let us restore him to our 
thought as a person, a preacher and a philosopher. We cannot 
understand the man without understanding the period and 
the society to which he belonged. Though our social and 
spiritual life flows directly, with but a brief interval, from that 
of our Puritanic ancestors, it has undergone great changes. 
The stream has left the rugged defiles, and the mountain canon. 
No longer clamoring among the rocks, or darkened by their 
shadow, it spreads itself lazily out in the wide, fertile, sunny 
valley. There is no such sternness in our creeds, nor stringency 
in our lives, as belonged to our fathers. We can now take any 
two points in the chart of religious faith, and find our way 
easily from one to the other by insensible gradations, meeting, 
in the transit, good citizens, most of whom are going to heaven, 
and none of whom are predestined, in our thoughts of them, 
to eternal damnation. Our clergy go to an agnostic, like John 
Fiske, to catch a word of encouragement concerning the being 
of God and a future life ; or to John Morley, or to John Stuart 
Mill, for suggestions in philanthropy and the progress of the 
race. Nor do they make this pilgrimage in vain. Yet our 

Jonathan Edwards. 5 

stalwart fathers, who knew at sight the works of the devil and 
abhorred them all, would have thought a faith strangely puerile, 
and puny, and pimping, that found satisfaction in sitting at the 
feet of men who believe neither in natural nor revealed relisr- 
ion, and have not a thus saith the Lord, for any proposition 
whatever. * Belief with us is a great deal wider, more change- 
able, more consolatory, and also far more vacillating, than with 
the sturdy Puritans. The oaken centre of character was with 
them dry and hard, with us it is sappy and succulent. Firm- 
ness of belief by no means indicates with certainty clearness of 
thought. One who is ready to slip on the precipitous face of 
a rock, clings to the feeble shrub near by, as if it were a rod of 
iron ; he who stands securely, hardly lays his hand on the sup- 
porting rail. There is with us more belief, more ease of belief, 
more charity in belief, than hitherto ; and he who should walk 
about our streets bristling with the five points of Calvinism, 
would be as much an anachronism as a knight in armor, strik- 
ing at our tailors or thrusting aside our merchants. The sol- 
diers of religious dogma or of the divine right of kings, the 
champions of sharp logic or of a sharp sword, have alike come 
under the kind hearted and complacent contempt which falls 
to a Don Quixote, in search of a world that exists no longer, 
save in his own fancy. 

President Edwards belonged to the later portion of the in- 
tense period of Puritanism, and to a community in which there 
was little to soften its stern features. Puritanism was nobly 
true to its own duty. Its office was to deepen and strengthen 
religious ideas that were becoming remote and inefficacious in 
men's minds. The contrasts of society were strong. Crude 
colors lay unblended on the canvass. The Puritan stood for 
reverence and godly fear, when transgression was profane, high- 
handed and cruel. He strove to overtop a towering record of 
sin in a wicked world. Hell-tire was not too strong a motive, 
when every man's cellar held one or more casks of eider bran- 
dy. The Puritanic conception of God was akin to this hard 
work of resistance and renovation. The Puritan sternly un- 
dertook a task which only sternness could accomplish. He was 
digging for rock, and found bed-rock in the justice of God. I 

6 Berkshire Historical mid Scientific Society. 

am very impatient of any disparagement of the forefathers. 

It seems to me the weak, supercilious smile; of men at what is 
too large for their comprehension. The spiritual world i.- 
fashioned in a way not unlike that in which the surface of tin: 
earth is formed. Great mountain ranges are forced up in rug- 
ged grandeur, and then dissolved away and softened down and 
slowly spread as fruitful soil over the plains at their feet. Pu- 
ritanism was a Titanic upheaval, and the results of many subse- 
quent years have been due to its fertilizing drift. Its hold 
outlines of conduct, its abrupt walls of faith, looming up on the 
horizon of our history, stand for the fructifying ideas of law 
and liberty, potent among us from that time to this. I abhor 
an Americanism, overborne by the grosser portions and grosser 
beliefs of mankind, toned down by the irreverence of an un- 
spi ritualized German, or swashing about in his beer-swill, think- 
ing itself thereby to have attained the largeness of liberty, and 
to have shed effectually the too restricted skin of its progeni- 
tors. Such Americans need to know that the only buoyant 
force that keeps us afloat in this swirl of sensuous things is the 
faith, born and bred of Puritanism. When the Puritan spirit 
shall cease to inherit the land it won for liberty, the land itself, 
exhausted of its first fertility, will be ready for the subsoiling 
of revolution. Yet there is very little in Puritanism that we 
would wish preserved intact, save the tone of it, the very 
strength of it, its invincible spirituality, its sense of a life capa- 
ble of a development infinitely more beautiful than its attain- 
ments hitherto. 

President Edwards, to whom we make roundabout haste to 
return, was a Puritan of the Puritans. He was born into, and 
was the only son of, the household of a Connecticut minister, 
serving— or served by — the same people nearly sixty years. 
His mother belonged to a like cogent line. A religious atmos- 
phere, full of the ozone of Calvinism, was congenital and con- 
genial to him. By his marriage with Sarah Pierrepont, a wo- 
man of a like supersensuous, exalted and mystical temper, he 
kindled, on his own hearthstone, the same sacramental fire, and 
fed it, year succeeding year, by a union of tender and intense 
experiences, like flames that wrap each other and lift each other 

» Jonathan Edwards, 7 

in vanishing tongues of light. Edwards laid down for the gov- 
ernment of his youth sixty-seven resolutions, to he read weekly, 
and sternly applied in the correction of any frailties that should 
show themselves. The key-note is struck at once in the first 
of them. "Resolved, that I will do whatever I think to he 
most to God's glory and my own good, profit and pleasure, oh 
the. whole; without any consideration of the time, whether 
now, or never so many myriads of ages hence; to do whatever 
[ think to be my duty, and most for the good and advantage 
of mankind in general, whatever difficulties I meet with, how 
many and how great soever." This earnest idea of life widened 
out in every direction, and the spiritual athlete girded himself 
for its unwearied pursuit. One stands in awe and reverence, 
and in sadness, too, before such a man; in awe and reverence 
at so pure and uncompromising a purpose, in sadness, that he 
did not see the promises and sunshine of life as clearly as he 
saw its dangers and overhanging clouds. 

The religious life, as understood by Edwards, was one of 
supersensuous motives and penetrating perspective. "My 
wickedness," he says, "as I am in myself, has long appeared to 
me perfectly ineffable, swallowing up all thought and imagina- 
tion. I know not how to express better what my sins appear 
to me to be, than by heaping infinite upon infinite, and multi- 
plying infinite by infinite." This spiritual mania, of so trans- 
cendent an order, he consistently and constantly maintained in 
his every action. There is a dream which often returns to me. 
My feet slowly lift from the earth, and I acquire the smooth, 
wavy motion of a bird. It is easily managed in a vision, but 
when daylight returns, I have lost the knack of it. Thus it is 
with life as conceived by Edwards; it is a thing of transcen- 
dental experiences, once in it, the mind must not be allowed to 
wake out of it. Let us, if possible, understand this phase of 
religion, Even in its grotesque forms — and its forms ever tend 
to become grotesque — we should approach it awfully : as we 
would pick up an idol, now spurned, which men had kissed and 
bowed before for centuries, and lay it aside interestedly, as 
something which concerned the human soul, in its secrets, 

8 Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society.- 

secrets so momentous, yet so often unintelligible; bo gross, yet 

so supersensuous. 

While it is high time that the vigorous religious conception 
of life of which Edwards gave so marvelous and realistic, a pre- 
sentation should pass away forever, yet the world has most of 
all been blest by men who have been able to trample it under 
foot, in this relentless way, when it has risen as an obstacle to 
the invisible things of the spirit. If the images any of us make 
in clay seem lifeless and absurd, break them with a hammer, 
but forget not that a divine beauty has often been fashioned of 
this same material. Phases of inspiration greatly alter, but 
inspiration remains the one divine thing forever. 

There was nothing harsh or unlovely in the character and 
address of President Edwards. lie administered the terrible 
system he had espoused with the tenderness of unreserved sin- 
cerity. Possessed of a quiet and commanding presence, he 
spoke in a fearfully intelligible way of the facts as he conceived 
them. He gave his own version of the divine mind — one to 
which he had reconciled himself in fierce conflict — unwavering 
and unsparing presentation. His biographer, in the early 
American edition of his works, says that his sermons were not 
usually long. Things are relative in this world. The assertion 
can only mean for us, with our short sips of insipid flavors, that 
compared with his brethren in the ministry, he did not improve 
the abundant gifts that were in him at unusual length. His 
published sermons, in the edition referred to, average twenty- 
nine compact pages, and would require, in delivery, not less 
than an hour and a half. The first of them, Justification by 
Faith, might well have occupied five hours. The Puritans 
were a tedious people to everybody but themselves, and thus 
rare power is signally disclosed in the courageous way in which 
they bore up under their own abundant fervor. In looking 
over the thirty-five printed discourses, one is impressed with 
the severe and sombre class of subjects chosen. The light that 
rests on them is rarely sunshine; it is often as lurid as a confla- 
gration in the night-time. These are some of the titles in the 
first volume: The Justice of God in the Damnation of Sin- 
ners; The Future Punishment of the Wicked Unavoidable and 

Jonathan Edwards. 9 

Intolerable; The Eternity of Hell Torments; The Folly of 
Looking back in Fleeing out of Sodom; Sinners in the Hands 
of an Angry God. There is no milk-and-water Andover the- 
ology here. The last discourse, in the conception it gives of 
God, is one of the most intolerable that was ever uttered. Vet 
it was wrapped about with so simple, devout and pure feeling, 
that it may — such are the strange possibilities of the world 
have done good. There is, however, in this assertion the same 
sort of riddle which there is in saying, The devil, on the whole, 
is a happy idea. The profound misapprehension of the dis- 
course is indicated in its earlier words, "The observation 1 
would now insist on is. this, There is nothing which keeps 
wicked men at any moment out of hell but the mere pleasure 
of God. By the mere pleasure of God I mean his sovereign 
pleasure, his arbitrary will, restrained by no obligation, hin- 
dered by no manner -of difficulty." 

The force of President Edwards was that of unwavering 


conviction; which men can never resist. Whether it rushes 
forward like the floods of a summer rain, or offers the stern, rock- 
like front of a glacier, all yield, all are swept before it, all are 
ground to powder beneath it. One could hardly sit under the 
closing words of the sermon last referred to, without submit- 
ting, in abject fear, or flying into terrific passion, or sinking 
into the insensibility of flesh too often seared with a hot iron. 
"If we knew that there was one person, and but one, in the 
whole congregation, that was to be the subject of this misery, 
what an awful thing it would be to think of! If we knew who 
it was, what an awful sight it would be to see such a person ! 
How might all the rest of the congregation lift up a lamenta- 
ble and bitter cry over him! But alas! Instead of one, how 
many is it likely will remember this discourse, in hell? And 
it would be a wonder, if some that are now present, should not 
be in hell in a very short time, before this year is out. And it 
would be no wonder if some persons, that now sit here in some 
seats of this meeting-house in health, and quiet and secure, 
should be there before to-morrow morning." No violence of 
gesture, no resonance of voice, could add anything to words 
such as these, cold, clear, cruel, cutting their way like a knife 

It) Berkshire Historical and Scientiji\ Society. 

among trembling nerves, alive only to be lacerated. ( toe grows 
faint even at the remote image. A sinner stripped of all the 
gracious God-given conditions of life, crouches under the divine 
wrath, as a frightened wretch in a corner of his own cellar 
while a pitiless cyclone sweeps his habitation as dust from over 
his head. God spare us the remorseless eloquence of President 
Edwards. It is like the Inferno of Dante, sublime in terror, 
but without a touch of the beauty of love. 

It has been thought strange that a man of so much tender- 
ness as belonged to President Edwards should have returned 
so often and so vigorously to the enforcement of the most re- 
pulsive beliefs of his creed. The answer is simple. The mind 
of Edwards was of that bold, earnest, truthful character, that 
attaches the most importance to the most difficult questions 
which offer themselves to it. His thoughts pushed on to the 
reduction of such doctrines, as a conqueror plants his siege 
trains around the strongest fortresses. The sermons of Edwards 
express the pertinacity of his own powers in pursuing difficul- 
ties. The less his mind was at rest under the divine character, 
the more he struggled with the conception and enforced his 
hard conclusion concerning it. Moreover, he felt that the bold- 
est use of truth is the most merciful use. The times, also, were 
belligerent. He had an horror of Armenianism, and he wished 
to knock out the great teeth of the ugly dragon with rough 

Two practical questions of wide-reaching interest came before 
President Edwards in his ministration at Northampton. The 
first of them was the excesses which accompanied the Great 
Awakening. This memorable religious movement, which 
spread all over New England, extended into the other colonies 
and passed the ocean into England and Scotland, commenced 
at Northampton under the preaching of Edwards. ■ The general 
culture of President Edwards and his intellectual vigor would 
naturally have predisposed him against nervous outbreaks and 
physical prostrations, which lacked dignity, and often addressed 
themselves to fanatical sentiments and a debasing curiosity. 
President Edwards came forward in their defence by virtue of 
the force of a theological theory. Man is possessed by a devil, 

Jonathan FAwanh. 11 

and it is not unreasonable, therefore, to suppose that this evil 
spirit, in departing from him, may east him down and rend him. 
Conversion is not a natural, hut a supernatural, change ; it may, 
therefore, be convulsive. We must not assign methods to tin- 
work of God's spirit. 

The third sermon of the seventh volume is on this theme : 
Men Naturally God's Enemies. The tenet of an utterly de- 
praved nature is a vital one in the theology which President 
Edwards represented, and it modifies everything in the mind's 
relation to truth. No normal and just processes suffice for 
redemption. There is no easy and wholesome transition into 
the Kingdom of Heaven. Not till man is shaken out of him- 
self, and from himself, is he in any way a child of grace. It 
is useless, therefore, to expect him to endure the hand of God 
without some ruffling of the garments of the flesh, some dislo- 
cations of the bones. One cannot lie on the rack without 
wrenched joints. So intense a religious experience as that rep- 
resented by President Edwards is abnormal, and was liable to 
repulsive, abnormal manifestations. Edwards was not at lib- 
erty to repudiate these direct fruits of his faith. The most he 
could do was to strive to restrain them. If God had not pro- 
tected us against such fierce incentives by the fortunate apathy 
of our nature, we should oftener have found our faith a high- 
way to bedlam. Says President Edwards, " The body in its 
present weakness, is not fitted for the views and pleasures and 
employments of heaven. If God did discover but a little of 
what is seen by the saints and angels in heaven, our frail na- 
tures would sink under it." " We cannot determine that God 
shall never give any persons so much of a discovery of himself, 
not only as to weaken their bodies, but to take away their lives." 
His view of the case is now so far from current feeling, that 
we need spend no time upon it. What we may w r ell remember 
is, that the perplexity of President Edwards arose necessarily 
from his disjointed structure of the world, the hopeless gulf 
which lay, in his view, between man, the unfortunate occupant 
of the world, and the elect, the fortunate heirs of heaven. If 
one could only find himself at last within the golden gates, he 
could well afford to have been flung thither as from a catapult. 

12 Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society, 

The beliefs which Edwards defended have stolen quietly away, 
like water from a pool by the roadside, and left only a little 

mud. This also will dry up in due time. 

This same excitement gave rise to claims of special insight, 
and of a right to judge others, which soon became the source 

of much confusion and strife. Edwards was compelled to resisl 
this arrogance of individual opinion, though it was only another 
incident of an irrational tendency. 

The second question which came to President Edwards, and 
in reference to which lie was more in the line of progress, was 
that involved in the conditions of church membership. In a 
Puritanic community, religious relations had a controlling influ- 
ence. Social position and, in the early history of Massachu- 
setts, political power, were associated with church membership. 

Solomon Stoddard, to whose assistance Edwards had been 
called, had conceded that easy admission to the church, known 
as the half-way covenant. This membership did not imply any 
renovation of life. The custom had become somewhat general 
in other churches, and Edwards found it in full force when he 
commenced his work at Northampton. In the earlier part of 
his ministry, he expressed no hostility to it, but its evils became 
increasingly apparent to him. lie was led to feel distinctly 
that the purity of the religious life could not be preserved with- 
out sharp discrimination between those obedient to the faith 
and those negligent of its duties, between the converted and 
the unconverted. The sternness of the doctrines he taught, 
and the great vigor of the motives he employed, made this 
discrimination all the more necessary. It was something mon- 
strous that men should be in the tacit acceptance of such beliefs 
and pay little attention to them in their lives. This was to be 
in the daily use of the strongest spiritual tonics with no im- 
provement in spiritual health. It was to have the diabolical 
constitution of a magician, who swallows swords and knives 
with no visible results. 

President Edwards became convinced that the church, to be 
a spiritual power, must rest on a pure, spiritual basis, and be 
pledged, without reservation, to its own work. This difference 
of opinion between the pastor and the people was suddenly 

Jonathan Edwards. L3 

deepened into division by the discovery of Edwards, that I ln- 
young men and women of his congregation were in possession 
of unclean literature, ile called for an investigation, and the 
church gave ready assent. When it became evident, however, 
that the evil extended widely, in influential households, the 
church suddenly dropped off from its disposition to inquire into 
it. Here was a startling illustration of the danger of lax mem. 
hership. Even the decencies of life, like whitewash on a sep- 
ulchre, might Hake off in the most unseemly way. Edwards 
hecame more earnest in his effort to enforce the opinion which 
had grown out of his wider experience, and the church, in a 
like degree, hecame impatient, irritable and resistful. 

It is not strange that this unexpected difference of sentiment 
passed rapidly into a bitter and nnassuageable quarrel. Presi- 
dent Edwards was not an easy man to encounter, ile was so 
calm, so just, so persistent in his methods, so full of inexhaust- 
ible reasons — one volume of his works is chieliy occupied with 
them on this topic — and of such invincibleness, he called his 
adversaries to a parley with such imperturbable patience, and 
such absolute assurance of success, that no man could reasonably 
contend with him till he had first become unreasonably angry. 
Passion and perversion were the only available means of war- 
fare. The church refused to listen to his arguments, and would 
none of his counsels. 

We may well believe that we have, in this violent contention, 
a natural expression of character. Edwards, with his unim- 
peachable goodness, his uniform severity of thought, his im- 
maculate presence, must have been, in the progress of years, an 
incubus on any average community. When unexpected relief 
comes to boys under a rigid master, they astonish themselves 
at the extent to which they kick up their heels. The devil had 
been so snubbed, and kept under in so many ways, that there 
was a vicious swinge in his tail at this unanticipated deliverance. 
President Edwards was running counter to settled customs, 
strong tendencies and instinctive bias in the community ; and, 
like all men who encounter entrenched transgression, in a deter, 
mined way, on new ground, he was made to feel the immense 
inertia of sin. His blows of reasoning, like the strokes of a 

14 Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

hammer on a flinty rock, only gave occasion to sparks of pas- 
sion and a painful recoil. The opportunity for conviction. and 
persuasion passed at once and forever away. A ministry, in- 
comparable in purity and in the vigor of its pleas for righteous- 
ness, broke up under the first severe concussion, and disclosed 
such depths of impiety and passion as to confirm one doctrine 
at least of the harsh Calvinistic creed, that of the total deprav- 
ity of the human heart. 

The real philosophy of this painful event is found in the 
impossibility of subjecting human life advantageously to the 
strain of stringent motives. There are normal methods of 
growth which cannot be exceeded. The incentives employed 
by Edwards were inhuman, as well as inhumane, in their inten- 
sity. A religious experience of this order will show strangely 
callous and inconsistent phases. It is not pervaded by propor- 
tionate, self-sustaining and harmonious impulses. It is liable, 
under new conditions, to drop in, like undermined soil. Pres- 
ident Edwards retired to Stockbridge, experiencing the full 
severity of life's most severe lesson, the miscarriage of goodness 
in its devoted labor. This event brought his career, as a preach- 
er, practically to an end. Henceforth he was incidentally a 
missionary and primarily a philosopher. 

President Edwards owes his continuous influence not chiefly 
to his piety, simple and pervasive as it was, but to the very 
unusual vigor of his mind. His theology was the product of 
protracted and searching thought. We need not distinguish 
his theology from his philosophy. Theology is a part of phil- 
osophy. Theology is as theoretical as any branch whatever of 
inquiry. We do not say this in disparagement of it, but in 
simple recognition of the fact. 

What was President Edwards' philosophy of the spiritual 
world, for to that world, from his childhood up, he chiefly 
directed his attention? He regarded his philosophy as Biblical ; 
but the Bible, not less than other forms of presentation, waits 
on the mind which receives it for interpretation. Edwards, in 
common with his generation, attached excessive importance to 
the logical outline of belief. He laid down, as the first quali- 
fication of a good minister, " thoroughly sound principles in the 

Jonathan Edwards. 1f> 

scheme of doctrine which he maintains." He had not come to 
see that the facts of a spiritual life must precede our theoretical 

rendering of them, that a sound life is the source of a Bound 
rendering, rather than a sound rendering of a bound life. 

The central conception in theology is the character of God. 
In this conception President Edwards was profoundly at fault. 
Relatively physical attributes triumphed over moral ones. The 
sense of power, magnitude of being, dimension of existence, 
overwhelmed every other consideration. There was an absorp- 
tion of all interests, all rights, all felicities in God, closely allied 
to what we are wont to call selfishness. Only let God be happy, 
and created things are not of much moment. We are " inferior 
worms." God and the creatures of God are opposed to each 
other. What the one side wins the other loses. It was p<».>i- 
ble for Edwards to feel that God, moving in his radiant orbit 
of power, could forever pursue any person, who in any degree 
opposed him, not only without pity but with positive pleasure. 
The immense depths of being locked up in God were of the 
most exacting order. Nothing could resist his power. He 
moved forward relentlessly to bless or to crush his creatures. 

President Edwards violated his own philosophy to make his 
conception of God more unbearable than it otherwise would 
have been. He spoke of the will of God as absolute and arbi- 
trary. Yet under his own view of will, no will can be arbi- 
trary. To be arbitrary is to set aside just motives in favor of 
personal impulses. Edwards regarded the motives which gov- 
ern the will as always provided by the circumstances, and final 
in their effect. God, therefore, cannot be arbitrary. He must 
be controlled by the conditions of action. It was a superfluous 
touch of his own exacting imagination to make God. ac he. s<j 
constantly did, arbitrary in bis handling of men. The infinite 
wisdom of God excludes arbitrary action under any view of 

There is, in this attitude of Edwards, another striking exam- 
ple of that nemesis which overtakes any extreme opinion, com- 
pelling it, by virtue of its excess in one direction, to a kindred 
excess in the opposite direction. Edwards denied to man lib- 
erty — the primary gift of God, the true function of manhood 

i<> Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

inherent in clear intelligence— as in itself an impossible con 
ception. He then proceeded to refer liberty to God in tbc 

illegitimate form of arbitrariness, as if this truly Bpurious power 
were the crown of his glory. 

Tt ought to he said, in reduction of the harsh impression 
which this word arbitrary now makes upon us, that ideas in the 
spiritual world, like objects in the physical world, are greatly 
altered in character by that on which they are projected. The 
divine will, when contrasted with high-handed wickedness 
among men, brings, simply as will, as an adequate ruling force, 
great relief to the devout mind, a sense of safety and of refuge. 
Such a mind clothes it with all the results of rightfulness. 
Power, as in periods of anarchy, takes genial emphasis. 

When moral order is in a measure conceded, then wisdom, 
grace, the perfecting of that order, become our desire. Having 
enthroned will, we proceed to enthrone reason as the real root 
of will, the true source of beneficent authority. Having [rotten 
the government, we pass on to its definition and limitation. 
Edwards was in search of adequate rule. 

Edwards, in his system of morals, regards the essential nature 
of virtue to be "the love of being in general." But as the bulk 
of being, beyond all comparison, is found in God, our virtue 
lies in being absorbed by him. His life is not passing into our 
lives, all lives are not meeting in the life of reason, but his 
thirsty spirit is drinking up other spirits that they may satisfy 
and gratify the depths of being in him. 

This conception of God, so partial, so subversive of true 
moral quality, was arrived at by President Edwards in conse- 
quence of his notion of the nature of man. The character of 
God is the key of theology, and the endowments of man are 
the key to the character of God. President Edwards regarded 
man as destitute of grace and without liberty. His famous 
work on the will, assumes, at once, premises which involve 
his conclusions, and these he unfolds in his minutely analytic, 
exhaustive and exhausting method. Causation is accepted as 
a universal principle, and this principle is shown to preclude 
liberty. All other errors in President Edward's doctrinal 
system centre here. Moral obligations remain, though the 

Jonathan Edwards. 17 

power of obedience is wanting; sin and holiness thus become 
states rather than aets. The transfer from the one state to the 
other state can be accomplished by God only, and bis election 
finds full sweep in it. A principle reason with Edwards for 
the assertion of the absolute force of motives was the appre- 
hension that freedom in man would put limits upon the 
knowledge and power of God. God being thus absolute, all 
men, whether holy or unholy, drop at once into his hand, and 
are played by him as mere puppets. Separate from him they 
are totally hateful; united to him, they become the media 
of his pleasure. These conclusions are derived, one by one, 
in due order from the absence of liberty in man ; yet, the 
Kingdom of Heaven is within us, and not till we find it there 
can we find it anywhere. President Edwards built up his 
entire system unflinchingly on a total misapprehension of the 
nature of man; hence of the nature of virtue; hence of the 
nature of discipline of the world, and so of the nature and 
government of God. 

This theology resulted in a constant conflict of conceptions 
which would not, and could not, be reconciled. Thus in the 
sermon entitled " The Justice of God in the Damnation of 
Sinners," he says, " It is consistent with wisdom that God 
should make himself his end ; it is consistent with perfec- 
tion that he should be governed by his own will." These 
assertions involve incongruous ideas. Wisdom implies the 
widest possible consideration of all interests, and goodness 
involves the full operation of these motives on the mind. 
Neither wisdom, therefore, nor goodness can bear, aside from 
the truth offered, the least touch of will. Will as will, is 
opposed to wisdom as wisdom. 

Moral distinctions are confounded in this system beyond all 
hope of elucidation. We can respect the spiritual courage 
which led to this confusion. We cannot fail to recognise the 
confusion itself, and the loss, by means of it, of any coherent 
view of the world. The moral law is the supreme law of 
God in the soul of man and in the constitution of society. It, 
more than all other things, testifies to the being and nature of 
God. It gives us all our standards of goodness. There can be 

18 Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

to us no other standards. If the actions of God do nol 
conform to the moral law, lie is nol good. If he is not good, 
he is not wise. If he is neither good nor wise, the significance 
of his being and the proof of his being disappear. The 
strong hold of faith is the moral government of the world. 
To wound morality is to pierce the soul of man in a vital parr. 
It must languish till this wound is healed. It has been a 
long, hard stiuggle, not yet quite complete, to overcome the 
injury tc spiritual life which issued from this misapprehension 
of Edwards, and of Calvinists generally, of the moral nature, 
and of our relation through it to God. The graces of a relig- 
ious life were regarded by President Edwards as something 
wholly distinct in nature and origin from virtue, the perfecting 
of the human spirit under its own native laws of life. The 
attainments of virtue, aside from a supernatural grace, had in 
his view no merit whatever. Virtue and saving virtue are as 
distinct from each other as possible. The nature of man as it 
is, and the nature of man as it is to be, constituted for him the 
great contrast of the religious world. 

This system gave rise to terrible conflicts in the mind of 
Edwards and of its devotees. The natural heart, that is the 
very heart of man, rejected the arbitrary government thus 
forced upon it. It was only by protracted and convulsive effort 
that the mind could be brought to accept it. The life of Ed- 
wards was full of this self-imposed struggle between what he 
regarded the natural heart and the sanctified heart. Occasion- 
ally, he rose into moods of eestacy and marvellous elation as the 
result of the rebound of the soul from the impact of sin. Ex- 
treme followed extreme under the inevitable law of reaction. 

This conflict carried with it, as it always must, a mystical 
element. The entire experience out of which it sprang was 
supersensuous and unearthly. It found no clue and no correc- 
tion in the ordinary events of life. It strove after separation 
and diversity, not union and harmony. Both President Ed- 
wards and Mrs. Edwards attained, in a high degree, the rap- 
turous sentiment which they regarded as the culmination of 
spirituality, and which accepted no law from personal, or from 
the general, welfare. Eestacy was the aim, union with (•< 

Jonathan Eclwards. I'.i 

exalted sensibility. This is mysticism. The soul ceases to Beek 
development by the normal use of its powers, is lifted and 
whirled upward in circles of wrapt insight, is lost to itself and 
to the world in the love of God. The average man can only 

stand and look on in a bewildered way, as did the sons of the 
prophets when Elijah was caught up in a chariot of lire. 

This theology of Edwards settles the relation of man to God 
on a basis of supernaturalism. The system is fundamentally 
and profoundly opposed to naturalism. The religious concep- 
tion of the world and the scientific conception of it thus become 
completely antithetic. It is the secret and open struggle 
between the two. during the present century, that has been the 
great event of the spiritual world. It has been the supreme 
achievement of science, that is of the rational temper, to set 
aside this phase of supernaturalism, and place us on plain terms 
of obedience, under laws that embrace all things and knit all 
things together. The supernaturalism which remains to us is 
something wholly other than the supernaturalism of Edwards. 
It is the supernaturalism of a free human spirit, a thing con- 
temptuously discarded by Edwards. 

Under the Oalvinistic idea, the natural world, waiting to be 
burned up, has nothing in common with the world of grace, 
waiting to be let down out of Heaven. In the sermon, God 
Glorified by Man's Dependence, Edwards says, "I propose to 
show, first, That there is an absolute and universal dependence 
of the redeemed on God for all their good; and, secondly, That 
God hereby is exalted and glorified in the work of redemption." 
This language is to be interpreted under the constant opposition 
between man and God which characterized the thought of Ed- 
wards. There is, therefore, a dualism in the world not simply 
of things unlike, but of things hostile. Hell stands the coun- 
terpoise of heaven, and the universe is permanent by virtue of 
the balance between the two. God and his saints take positive 
pleasure in the pains of the devil and his angels. The power 
of God is everywhere, but not the grace of God. The moral 
world is cleft in parts from top to bottom. Hatred is eternal 
and universal; it shows itself in Heaven as the loathing of the 
victor, in Hell as the loathing of the vanquished. This con- 

20 Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

ception of God and of immortality is horrible, and puts tin- 
merciful spirit, striving for faith, at once in a fierce effort to 

lind its way back again to a sense of justice and wisdom and 
love, without which the world is nought to it. 

Daily experience flatly contradicts this theory of Edwards. 
Saints are in no such way superior to others, sinners are in no 
such way debased below others, as this theology affirms. No 
thorough and impartial investigation discloses these supernat- 
ural gifts of converting grace. Edwards and others like him 
hid from themselves the perfectly normal character and very 
moderate degrees of the spiritual life by the mysticism and 
ecstacy which belonged to their own experience. They under- 
stood neither the changes in feeling nor those in action incident 
to conversion on a sound, sober, psychological basis. They 
were subject to illusions of faith, which distorted the relatione 
of things. We are as yet only half-awakened from this night- 
mare which began, in St. Augustine, to distress the spirit of 
man. A just apprehension of the perfectly open spiritual facts 
of the world, as they oiler themselves to our daily observation, 
would have been fatal to the theology of Edwards. 

This theory of salvation greatly altered the methods and 
weakened the motives of spiritual growth. The fundamental 
transition was not a natural, but a supernatural, change, and all 
subsequent progress involved a most obscure and perplexed 
interplay of the human and the divine. The steady growth of 
the human with and into the divine, was an idea abhorrent to 
it. I well recollect, nurtured under a stern, Puritanic senti- 
ment, how obscure, from the earliest childhood, the whole sub- 
ject of religion seemed to me. I was bidden to do impossible 
things in unknown ways, and my hesitation, perplexity and 
disposition to make further inquiry were set down as so many 
additions to my guilt. The centre of all this confusion, the 
darkest spot in this darkness, was the election of God, his will 
put in the place of his wisdom. President Edwards was never 
able to apprehend that will with God is only the force of wis- 
dom, and that love is the warmth that follows on with light in 
the footsteps of reason. We would hold by supernatural)' 
but it is a supernaturalism by which the natural remains p' 

Jonathan Edwards. w _M 

under the handling of the spirit, itself forever unfolding under 

its own laws of liberty. We would separate ourselves as widely 

from the hard naturalism, declared in the name of science, as 
from the hard unnaturalism, proclaimed in the name of theol- 
ogy . We would move and have our vital being where; the two 
meet, the natural and the supernatural, and forever mingle in 
spiritual life. Growth under the dominant force of reason. 
Hewing forth from God and flowing through the human spirit, 
is the controlling idea in the spiritual world. 

It is not surprising that an earnest disciple of this .stern faith. 
like President Edwards, should lay eager hold of the intense 
motives which the system offered, even though the system itself 
provided no rational method of use for them. Men were hound 
in chains of sin, waiting to he consigned to eternal woe. It was 
an act of kindness to unweld these chains in the very heat of 
divine wrath, by a jet of flame blown straight from the pit 
itself, if thereby the_ scorched and blackened sinner could be 

We turn again from this fearful logic of an insane specula- 
tion to the man himself, so much purer, stronger, more benefi- 
cent, more lovable, than we would think possible. I low many 
measures of dry meal a little of the true leaven of divine love 
will enliven and make wholesome ! President Edwards, in his 
personal character, was like a noble tree whose growth has been 
checked and distorted by adverse storms, but has yet pushed 
upward with irrepressible vigor into its own native sky. What 
was it with all his errors of faith, that made President Edwards 
a great spiritual force? 

He laid hold, with wonderful firmness and constancy of con- 
viction, of spiritual things, and made them the riding consid- 
erations in life. He stood for the invisible. Any man who 
does this, in connection with high intellectual ability, will be- 
come a startling presence among men. His conception was 
not duly harmonized within itself, but it was vital. In it, as 
in Puritanic character, strength predominated over grace. But 
power, magnitude, majesty, have hardly found elsewhere such 
overshadowing energy as in the faith of President Edwards. 
As we are in danger of softening down Puritanic force into 

22 Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

the weakness of self-indulgence^-so we are in danger of regard- 
ing the love of God as an easy tolerance of sin. Steel must lie 
delicately tempered within itself. Eiardnese and softness must 
touch each other along the unshrinking edge oi the glitterhi" 
weapon. Firmness and love meet in the divine character in 
perfect integrity, redolent of life within itself, persuasive of 
life beyond itself. First steps and sturdy ones were taken by 
President Edwards and his compeers in giving a firm, unshaken 
centre to the spiritual universe, and in compelling us to feel its 
invincible energy. Once having steel in its own true temper, 
we can soften it down to the uses of life. 

The awe and reverence which such a character inspires, 
while they should restrain ns from unkind, should not with- 
hold ns from thorough, criticism. The reasoning of President 
Edwards was characterized by analytic subtilty, rather than by 
penetration and breadth. He separated himself too widely 
from the spiritual facts of the world to understand them well, 
or to discuss them wisely. Dogma, the fruit of astute and 
rigid logic, whether it offers itself as orthodoxy or as liberalism, 
is ever in danger of blinding perception and arresting the 
growth of the mind under the more delicate and personal dis- 
closures of truth. The dogmatist will not walk with Grod in 
the familiar events of life, and wanders away into barren place-. 
Sound doctrine is only a provisional view of the truth, a proxi- 
mate rendering of it, open to all the corrections and enlarge- 
ments of experience. When it takes the form and force of 
dogma, and becomes so firmly established in the mind that we 
settle the nature of the facts, by it, and not it by the nature of 
the facts, it is henceforth a most serious obstruction to all true 
growth. Theory, in every department of knowledge, fulfills 
its function only by preserving a perfectly pliant, form, submit- 
ting itself at once to every new revelation in the world of 
events, where God, as creator and guide, meets us most inti- 
mately and constantly. We must draw the doctrines of life 
from life itself. President Edwards brought to the interpre- 
tation of life scholastic ideas which distorted it in many obvi- 
ous, and in many obscure, ways. 

There is much pathos mingled with the joy inspire* eh 

Jonathan Edwards. 23 


a character as that of Edwards. We see him pusli upw 
like a mountain explorer, with astonishirfg nerve and energy, 
hut we greatly regret that lie lias chosen such needlessly rugged 
and precipitous paths. We wish that Ik; had the joy and the 
peaee of a grand life. Yet perhaps one of our most mistaken 
regrets is a regret of the labors, hardships and errors we have 
undergone; sinee these are the ways to patience, power and 
wisdom. Strength made perfect in weakness is the secret of 
the spiritual world. 

Let us leave President Edwards where we took him up, in 
Stockbridge. His dismissal at Northampton left him, with his 
large family and narrow resources, in want. His friends in 
Scotland — and his works had won him many of them — contrib- 
uted to the relief of his immediate necessities. Stockbridge, 
in 1781, when Edwards went to it, was an Indian village with 
a small number of settlers. He ministered to these Americans 
and acted as missionary to the Indians. Valuable as was the 
service which lie thus rendered, it was not fitted to, nor com- 
mensurate with, bis powers. He devoted his leisure, during 
these six years of seclusion, to works in philosophy. It was 
then that he wrote his treatises on The Freedom of the Will, 
The Nature of True Virtue, The Doctrine of Original Sin. 
The inner force and quality of the mind of President Edwards 
are especially disclosed in these works. He put the fortress of 
his faith by means of them in perfect repair, and made it, as 
he thought, impregnable. It was about its last burnishing 
before its final overthrow. While some place these composi- 
tions among the highest products of human thought, others 
think of them lightly, as strongholds long since dismantled in 
the progress of events. If we entertain the flexible notion of 
growth, as the true explanatory idea of human history, we shall 
not wholly share either the one opinion or the other. There is 
nothing absolute, nothing complete, in life. Each state is par- 
tial and gives way to' one more perfect; each position transi- 
tional in reference to that which lies beyond. To those who 
come after us our errors will be as palpable, if not as glaring, 
as those of President Edwards. His defences were out-works, 
a border bulwark in the realm of faith. Unfortunately for his 

^4 Berks/tire Historical ami Scientific Society. 

reputation with us, lie built in behalf of decaying Ideas. Men 
were making ready to decamp firom these cold, Bterile uplands 
of justice, and plant their homes anew in the warm, fertile 
plains of God's favor and love. Edwards could not stay their 
movement, and his works stand monuments of futile labor on 
the very horizon of our vision. Events were wiser than he, 
and we now plume ourselves on this their wisdom, as if it were 
ours. How many faces are bright in this world with the lighl 
of sunset; turn toward the day not yet risen, and then see 
whose countenance is luminous. The goodness and fortitude 
of conservatism are sad, though often most real, presentations 
of strength in the history of the world. They may be likened 
to those great rocks which lie in the bed of a boisterous stream 
and prevent it from cutting too deep and too sudden a course 
for itself. Let the beliefs of Edwards perish with the age to 
which they belonged, let the character of Edwards remain with 
ns forever, marking grandly one of the historic points in the 
spiritual progress of the world. 

President Edwards' work among the Indians seems to have 
been in a fair degree successful. The church formed among 
them has had an unbroken history, and now embraces nearly 
the entire community, as established in Wisconsin. The seed 
sown in this virgin soil took a strong;, rank hold. The seed and 
the soil, I fancy, had a certain savage predilection for each 

At the reunion of the Edwards family, in 1870, at Stork- 
bridge, the number of his descendants was estimated at twenty- 
five hundred, two hundred of whom were present. The same 
prolific force and sharp contradictions showed themselves 
among his physical progeny, as among his spiritual offspring. 
Aaron Bun*, one of the most unusual, restive, and reckless 
characters in American history, was the grandson of President 

The evil and the good arise at the same centres and eliminate 
themselves in a perpetual and ever-changing strife, in which 
we are all partakers. We are called to contention, creation, 
workers with God in conceiving, as well as in achieving, the 
Kingdom of Heaven. Those who stand firm in their nrr 

Jonathan Edwards. 2f> 

places, and withhold nothing from this service, as they conceive 
it, are the world's heroes, from whom we wish to withdraw no 
honor. It is not the work, but the workmen, that arc saved. 

Work, therefore, is measured chiefly in fruits of character. So 
estimating the deeds of our fathers, we, their sous and daugh- 
ters, bow reverently, gratefully at the feet of the Puritans, men 
glorified with the faith of Edwards; but having received our 
blessing, and accepted our dowery, we rise and go forth a.^they 
did, to win a new world all our own. We leave them, as we 
leave all things else, behind us. We commit ourselves to the 
future and to that spirit of power and revelation which abides 
in it. 




There is probably no other industry whose origin and devel- 
opment has been so enveloped in mystery as that of glass- 
making. It is to glass that we owe not only our knowledge of 
the distant planets and of the minute structure of all around 
us, but the inestimable advantage also of abundant light in our 
dwellings and workshops, the plenty of cheap, clean and ele- 
gant vessels for our domestic needs, and the frequent gratifica- 
tion of our taste for the beautiful. 

For glass presents itself to our eyes on all sides, not only in 
windows, mirrors and vessels formed entirely of glass, but as 
enamel and glaze on the surfaces of metal and pottery. Dr. 
Johnson in one of his Rambler papers happily refers to the 
discovery of glass. "Who," he says, "when he first saw the 
sand and ashes by casual intenseness of heat melted into a 
metallic form, rugged with excrescences and clouded with im- 
purities, would have imagined that in this shapeless lump, lay 
concealed so many conveniences of life as would in time con- 
stitute a great part of the happiness of the world? Yet by 
some such fortuitous liquefaction was mankind taught to pro- 
cure a body at once in a high degree solid and transparent, 
which might admit the light of the sun, and exclude the vio- 
lence of the wind, which might extend the sight of the philos- 
opher to new ranges of existence, and charm him at one time 
with the unbounded extent of the material creation, and at 
another, with the endless subordination of the animal life, and, 
what is yet of more importance, might supply the decay of 
nature, and succor old age with subsidiary light. Thus was the 
first artificer of glass employed, though without his own knowl- 
edge or expectation. He was facilitating and prolonging the 
enjoyments of life, enlarging the avenues of science, and con- 

30 Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

ferring the highest and most lasting pleasures; he has enable. 1 
the student to contemplate nature and the beauty to behold 
herself." In all ages, whether as a simple colored bead or a 
cathedral window "it has been wished for and admired both 
by the savage and the man of the most refined taste." Of the 
first glass blower I can tell you nothing. "He must have been 
a man of great acuteness and originality, for the invention of 
glass blowing is perhaps more wonderful than that of glass 
itself." Both Phoenicia and Egypt claim to have been his 
home, but Egypt in a tomb at Beni Hasan has a painting rep- 
resenting the process, dating from the reign of Osirtasen the 
first, who was a contemporary of Noah during the last century 
of his life. This was a thousand years before Solomon. It is 
spoken of in the book of Job, now generally conceded to be 
the oldest literary production extant, and there mentioned in 
the same category as gold, showing that it had not then become 
common. Homer does not mention it, nor does Dr. Schlie- 
man find it upon the supposed site of Troy, though he does 
find it in the ruins of Mycenae. The Chinese do not claim it 
till about 200 b. c. Herodotus and Pliny mention it. Layard 
found it in the north-west palace of Nineveh, a transparent 
green vase, on one side of which is engraved a lion, and a line 
of cuneiform characters in which is the name of Sargon, king 
of Assyria b. c. 772. This is now in the British museum. We 
trace the art through all the ancient nations down to modern 
times. The legends of most wonderful objects made, of the 
firing of ships by sun-glasses, of its being malleable and flexi- 
ble, are numerous. But full of romance and wonder as they 
are, there is not space in this paper, to dwell upon them. My 
own belief, after the most careful investigation, is that no cen- 
tury has exceeded the nineteenth in the art of glass-making. 
In all ages the glass-maker seems to have been a privileged 
person. He was exempt from military duty. He was the only 
artisan in the Venetian "Republic whose daughter could marry 
a noble, and no taint descend upon the offspring of such a 

Glass windows were first introduced into England in 1180. 
In the rei<m of Edward III. Chaucer mentions them as a raritv. 

Glass Manufacture in Berkshire. 31 

When describing his chamber lie says "with glass were all the 
windows well glazed." In the time of Henry VIII. they were 
considered a luxury, and not used by yeoman and farmer. In 
the days of Queen Elizabeth they were unknown except in 
the mansions of a few lords and were regarded as movable 
furniture. When the Duke of Northumberland left Alnwick 
Castle to come to London for the winter, the few glass win- 
dows which furnished one of the castles were carefully taken 
out and laid away, or perhaps carried to London to adorn the 
city residence. 

Coming down to our own country we find the first mention 
of glass-making in connection with the first colony at James- 
town. In Burke's History of Virginia, published in 1804, Vol. 
I., page 222, we find an account of three rolls. The first has 
reference to the importation of maids for the colonists. The 
second roll is for a large guest house, as it is called, a place for 
the entertainment of early settlers while making homes for 
themselves. The third roll was for a glass-house. This glass- 
house seems to have been a speculation of an English company 
in London, for the making of beads to be used as a currency 
in trading with the Indians. One Captain Norton with some 
Italian workmen was sent out to establish this mint. This was 
in 1621. In Smith's History of Virginia published in London 
in 1632, a copy of which is in the Harvard College library, we 
find the following on page GQ, " As for hiring Poles and Dutch- 
men to make pitch, tar and glass" and on page 83 "all this 
. time the Dutchmen remaining with Powhattan, and their com- 
forts not following as they expected, they sent Francis their 
companion to the Glass-house, a place in the woods, near as 
may be to Jamestown, where was the rendezvous for all the 
suspected villainy." On page 163 Ave find "we sent home am- 
ple proofs of pitch, tar, glass, etc., according to instructions 
sent on, but we had better give for pitch, tar, glass, etc., £100 
a ton in Denmark." In the "History of the Virginia Colony 
of London" published in Albany in 1S69, we find, page 231, a 
letter from the company in London to the Colonial authorities 
dated July 25, 1621. This letter was sent in the ship George, 
and I make the following extract, " We commend unto you 

32 Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 


Captain William Norton who is now sent out by the general 
company and many private adventurers for the erecting of a 
glass-works. We desire he may he planted with his gang in 
the guest-house that Lieutenant Whitaker has erected us, there 
to reside till he hath found a convenient place to erect his fur- 
nace, in the choice whereof we desire you to give him your 
best assistance, and especially have a care to seat him near 
some well-inhabited place, that neither his gang be surprised, 
nor the commodities of glass and beads be vilified by too com- 
mon sale to the Indians." On page 236, from the Company's 
letter of August 27, one month later, we find "In the next 
place we commend unto your care Captain Norton and six 
Italians, together with the rest of his company, to which we 
pray you to be helpful at his landing, to carry his people and 
goods to the guest-house of Lieut. Whitaker. It is the only 
body in this ship that the general company hath interest in and 
therefore we all expect the best help and advice, especially in 
making choice of a healthy place to plant himself in. near to 
the best inhabited town, either in Charles City or Henrico, but 
by no means lower than James City nor remote from people, 
and in case Captain Norton shall die, we pray your Mr. George 
Sandy to undertake the oversight of the work, and if he should 
fail by any misaccident, which God forbid, we entreat you, Mr. 
General Thorpe, and Mr. Jo. Pointts to take it into your care, 
and in your absence to appoint some trusty person to ouste this 
business, for which the general company and private adven- 
turers will be very thankful to you. The making of beads is 
one of Captain Norton's chief employments, which being the 
money you trade with the natives, we would by no means have, 
through too much abundance, vilified, or the Virginians at all 
permitted to see or understand the manufacture of them. We 
pray you therefore seriously to consider what proportion of 
beads can be vented and their worth not abated, and intimate 
the proportion to Captain Norton and his Italians, and certify 
the same to us in your next letter, that accordingly we may 
limit the quantity that shall from time to time be made." The 
speculation seems to have been a failure, for on page 306 we 
find "Next the Publicpie we must again recommend unto you 

Glass Manvfactmre in Berkshire. '.'>'■'> 

the last year's undertaking of the glass-works. The fur, the 
maids and the magazines that each have missed of the present 
return which they expected, yet in the end the good procured 
of their adventure may enable and encourage them to go on 
in these and the like necessary kinds of supplies which have 
here risen, etc." This is probably the first manufacturing of 
any sort undertaken in this country. Leaving the Virginia 
Colony and coming to our own Plymouth, we find the first 
mention of glass, or rather a substitute for glass, in a letter of 
Edward Winslow written from Plymouth, Dec. 11, 1621, to 
some friend in England. In giving directions what to bring- 
over to the new Colony, he says, "Bring paper and linseed oil 
for your windows." This we find in Alex. Young's Chronicles 
of the Pilgrim Fathers, page 237. In a foot-note Mr. Young- 
says "oiled paper to keep out the snow storms of a New Eng- 
land winter." We, who know what a New England winter is, 
can realize from this some of the hardships of our pilgrim 
fathers. It is an indication of progress in domestic comfort 
when we find Higginson in 1029 writing from Salem to his 
friends in England " Be sure to furnish yourselves with glass 
for windows." 

The first record of any manufacture of glass in this country 
aside from beads for a currency, we find in Salem. In Felt's 
Annuals VI, 186, we read of the "Glass house field." In 1639 
ten acres of land were set oil:' to each of several persons named 
as glass-makers. Here glass was made for a considerable time. 

" The glass house field " was a part of the common afterwards 
known as the great pasture, a plan of which bearing date of 
1723 has a plot of it near what is now A born street. As evi- 
dence of the importance with which this enterprise was re- 
garded we find in Massachusetts Colony Pecords, Vol. 1, page 
344. On Dec. 10, 1641, it was voted "that if the town of Sa- 
lem lend the glass men £30, they shall be allowed it again out 
of their next rate, and the glass men shall repay it, if the works 
succeed, when they are able." In A r ol. II., page 137, we find, 
under date of October, 1645, that John and Ananias Concklin 
had not labored at glassworks for three years, "because the 
undertaking had not carried them on for that length of time." 

34: Berkshire Historical and Scientific, Society. 

They obtained leave of the General Court to conduct the work 
with others. « 

We now jump a century in the history of glass manufacture. 
The next record we have is of special interest to us at Berk- 
shire. An event occurred, which, though it did not result in 
the establishment of glass-works here, came very near to it. 
The actual result was the establishing of the works in Quincy, 
and a grant of land for the support of these works, covering 
the whole of the present village of Lee. This is what is known 
as the "Glassworks Grant," which is fully described by Mr. 
Alexander Hyde in his valuable history of that town. From 
that history and from a history of old Braintree and Quincy, 
by Dr. William S. Patten, I gather the following fact.-: 
"Somewhere between 1740 and 1750 one Mr. Joseph Crellens 
from Franconia, Germany, came to Philadelphia where he re- 
sided a few years, whence he removed to Massachusetts. On 
his arrival he opened negotiations with the Governor and Gen- 
eral Court in reference to the importation of a colony of Ger- 
man protestants into the province, by a petition and otherwise, 
for that purpose. On January 3d, 1749, a committee ap- 
pointed by the General Court to take into consideration the 
importation of protestant Germans, made their report. The 
substance of this report w r as as follows: "That it would be a 
public benefit to import foreign protestants to settle within this 
province. * * * The committee also propose that there 
should be two townships of six miles square each allowed them 
to settle in, viz: the westward township lately laid out at or 
near Massachusetts fort and one other township east thereof 
and adjoining thereto. That there be granted to each family 
that shall settle in either of said towns, one hundred acres, and 
a further grant of twenty-five acres to each son of such fami- 
lies between sixteen and twenty-one years of age, that each 
single man that shall settle in either aforesaid towns, these be 
granted fifty-one acres of land." After considerable manage- 
ment, Mr. Crellens succeeded in having four townships granted 
him, two of which were located near Fort Massachusetts and 
were to contain seven square miles of territory. The other 
two were to be laid out and surveyed in Cumberland County, 


Glass Manufacture in Berkshire. 35 

Maine, and were to contain six square miles. These grants 
were made on the condition that Mr. Crellins should import 
120 German protestant families into eacli of the said townships 
within three years, and also provide a learned orthodox minis- 
ter for two years in each of them. Mr. Crellins not fulfilling 
his agreement with the Government within the specified time, 
the Legislature revoked his grants. " Thus failed " says the 
historian of Quincy, " the project of establishing glass works 
in the towns of Lee and Williamstown in 1749." Mr. Crellins 
was not disheartened by his failure to settle the townships of 
Williamstown and Lee. The next year, 1750, we find him or- 
ganizing a company for the purpose of establishing the manu- 
facture of glass. This company, consisting of four Boston 
gentlemen and one from Philadelphia, leased 100 acres of land 
of Col. John Quincy for 10s. per acre. The land selected was 
what was known as "Shed's neck," in the town of Quincy. 
It was named Germantown and was laid out in squares which 
were named Berne, Hanover, Hague, Zuric and Mannheim. 
These were ornamented with trees and shrubs after the style 
and as reminders of the fatherland. This company contem- 
plated engaging in the manufacture of glass and various other 
things which were especially needed in the growing colonies. 
But beyond recording the same on their books, they seem to 
have actually accomplished nothing but the laying out of a 
manufacturing town. 

"For some reason which we are unable to devise" says the 
historian of Quincy, " on the 27 August, 1752, they released 
this township to Gen. Joseph Palmer and Mr. Richard Cranch, 
who were instructed by the tenor of the lease to begin imme- 
diately building operations, which they did by having con- 
structed Glass Works, chocolate mills, spermaceti works, stock- 
ing weaving, salt manufacturing, in which common salt, medi- 
cinal salts, and saltpetre were manufactured." 

As this is perhaps the first attempt iu manufacturing beyond 
that of the household, on a general scale on this continent, I 
think it will be interesting to dwell upon it more fully than I 
otherwise should. We must bear in mind that it was more 
than a year later than this, that George Washington planned 


Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

the stockade upon the spot which is now the great manufactur- 
ing city of Pittsburgh. In anticipation of his extensive 
manufacturing operations, Mr. Crellins had ordered a lot of 

German emigrants and about this time they arrived in Boston 
very poor and in a suffering condition. To relieve them of 
their distress the General Court January first, 1752, passed an 
order requesting the Commissary department of the Province 
to supply Mr. Peter Etten with beds and blankets for the 
" poor, suffering Politines," and if there were not a sufficient 
supply, the commissary was ordered the number 

" On January eighth, 1752, Mr. Peter Etten, interpreter for 
the German and French protestant emigrants, informed the 
government that twelve of these families had concluded an 
engagement with Palmer and Cranch at Quincy. On i\ov. 27, 
1752, Mr. Isaac Winslow memorialized the legislature to grant 
the company a patent for a term of years for the reason of 
having been at an expense of hundreds of pounds sterling in 
erecting a glass house at German town and as they shall have 
to incur an expense of ,£2,000 more before they can derive any 
advantage from glass-making, they therefore ask this monopoly 
which was granted them. The right to the exclusive manu- 
facture of glass did not relieve their troubles. The sparsely 
settled colony and the poverty of the inhabitants did not 
warrant the support of such an enterprise and the manu- 
facturers of Germantown soon became embarrassed for the 
want of business and the distinction of their buildings by fire. 
But Joseph Palmer, afterwards Gen. Palmer, was a man of 
remarkable courage and perseverance. On April 2nd, 1750, 
we find him before the General Court with a strongly worded 
petition for the establishment of a lottery in aid of manu- 
facturing interests at Germantown-. 

" On January 25, 1757, the council voted to dismiss the 
petition, but the House of Representatives was in favor of 
granting it, and in 1757, Feb. 12th, the bill, legalizing the 
lottery for £12,150, was passed, to be enacted, and permission was 
given for the use of the Hall of Representatives for the 
purpose of drawing the lottery! Surely an accommodating 

Glass Manufacture m Berkshire. -'»7 

legislature. When the glass-works company made a survey for 
their grant in Lee, they selected the then unappropriated land 
between the minister's grant and the EEoplands. They modestly 
asked that as the plot surveyed included about sixty four acres 
more than the 1,500 voted them, that the whole tract surveyed 
might be conveyed to them, which was done in 1755, Jan. 9th. 
On April 27, 1757, they bought the Indian title of two Indians 
of Stockbridge, John Poplme-hon-au-wah, and Robert Ming- 
hau-wot. As James Bowdoin of Boston owned one sixth of 
the upper Ilousatonic township, it was propably through infor- 
mation given by him that the grant was located as it was just 
north of the Iloplands." — [Springfield Keg., 1-25.] 

The next and most important attempt at glass-making 
previous to this century was made by Mi-. Robert I lews of 
Boston and New Hampshire. He became so much interested 
in the idea, from reading an article in an English encyclopedia 
that he determined to engage in the project and chose the 
forests of New Hampshire as the place to locate, both on 
account of the sand discovered there and the alkali which 
could be obtained from the ashes of the burned forests. lie 
obtained from the New Hampshire legislature, March 3rd, 1 781, 
the passage of an act for a glass house lottery for the purpose 
of raising £2,000 to enable him to build glass-works in Temple, 
New Hampshire. This lottery proved a failure, but Mr. Hews 
erected works from his own means, having inherited $50,000.00, 
all of which was sunk in the enterprise. His works were 
soon burned, owing to the carelessness of a drunken fireman. 
There is in the Harvard cabinet a green-tinted circular plate 
made by Mr. Hews in Temple, New Hampshire. The chief 
opposition which Mr. Hews encountered was from his wife, 
the more prudent of the two, but he seemed almost fanatical 
upon the subject of glass-making, and could not be happy until 
he had again embarked in the manufacture. About this time 
there arrived in Boston Mr. Charles F. Kupfer from the Duchy 
of Brunswick, Germany, a practical glass-maker. Mr. Hews 
and Mr. Kupfer met, and the result was the building of the 
Boston Crown Works on Essex street. Mr. Kupfer returned 
to his native home for workmen, while Mr. Hews, as per 


Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

records of second volume of Massachusetts laws, p. 575, 
obtained the exclusive right for the manufacture of glass in c 
Massachusetts for ten years. This was on Jane 15th, L793. 

Mr. Kupfer upon li is arrival at his old homo, found it no easy 
matter to get his blowers. The works belonged to the Duke 

of Brunswick, and it was a penal offense either for the men to 
leave, or for him to entice them away, lie was obliged to con- 
ceal his designs and operate in the dark, but succeeded in 
escaping in the night with a set of workmen and sailed from a 
German port before being overtaken. After a long voyage 
they landed in Boston and met with a Royal reception. So 
much interest in the new enterprise had been awakened in the 
citizens of Boston, that they turned out en masse and escorted 
them though a dirty set, as some one has recorded, from Long 
Wharf through State, Washington and what few other streets 
Boston then boasted, to the works at the corner of Kingston 
and Essex streets. Under the management of Mr. Kupfer the 
Boston Crown Works were a success. They turned out a good 
article and had a monopoly of the business. Their product 
became very celebrated through out the land, and there is some 
of it still in one at least of the old houses in Bittsfield. They 
were well protected by the Government and it is an interesting 
fact in the early history of glass-making in the different 
European countries that they were generously fostered by the 
various governments wherever established. The original par 
value of the shares of stock of the Boston Crown A\ r orks, was 
$500.00. They went up to $3,000.00, but an evil day came. 
The works were enlarged and incorporated in 1S2L Jonathan 
Hunnewell, Samuel Gore, Samuel H. Walley, Henry G. and 
John S. Foster were the original corporators. Mr. Kupfer was. 
interfered with in his management by the new board of officers. 
He retired in disgust and the company soon failed. Mr. Kupfer 
disposed of his stock and in connection with Caleb G. Loring, 
established the well-known mercantile glass house of Kupfer & 
Loring, succeeded by Caleb G. Loring & Co., Tuttle and Gaf- 
field, and Lambert Brothers. The last named are the present 
successors in Boston. Mr. Kupfer was not connected with the 
company at the time of its failure and supposed himself free 

Glass Manufacture in Berkshire. 39 

from all obligations of the company, but be had endorsed notes 
with the President, Mr. Ilnnnewell, and before maturing, Mr. 
Hunnewell had put his property out of bis bands, and Mr. 
Kupfer was called upon to meet the notes amounting to 

$20,000.00 which, after a legal contest with Mr. Ilnnnewell, 
whom he bad arrested, he was obliged to pay. Daniel Webster 
was Mr. Kupfer's counsel, but without avail. I have in my 
possession a letter written by bis son, John M. Kupfer, and 
kindly loaned me by Hon. Thomas Gaffield, dated Baden 
JBaden, June 4th, 1802, in which he says " The Duke's Royal 
Glass-works where my father went to steal away the first work- 
men for the Boston works, is still in operation." We have now 
come down to the present century. With its dawn the vigorous 
young Republic entered energetically into the various brandies 
of manufacture. The embargo acted as a protection. Glass- 
factories were started in various parts of the country, especially 
in New Jersey and Western Pennsylvania, but J shall con tine 
this paper to our own state and immediate vicinity. About 
the year 1800, influenced by the success of the Boston Crown 
Glass Co., a number of wealthy gentlemen in Albany and 
vicinity, concluded to start a G lass-works. They first located 
about ten miles west of Albany in a place now called Sloan- 
ville, but in a year or two, found that the sand in that place 
was not good and that the fuel would soon be exhausted. So 
in 1802 they turned their attention to Sand Lake, some ten 
mile east of Albany and about twenty miles west of Pittsfield. 
They purchased of the late Patron, Mr. Stephen YanRensselaer, 
some 5,000 acres of woodland and erected tbeir works at Sand 
Lake. They were incorporated in 1806. Tbeir plant was 
quite extensive, consisting of two C3dinder and one crown 
furnaces. They soon found that the sand there was too dark 
and they were obliged to come to Cbesbire for a purer article, 
and for many years, until their works were destroyed by fire 
in 1810, they carted tbeir sand from the well-known Lane sand 
bed, about one mile north of the present Berkshire Glass 
Works. They had to import their skilled workmen. Mr. 
William Richmond, a Scotchman, was the Superintendent of 
their works, lie went abroad to procure workmen. Disguised 

40 Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

as a mendicant, with a patch upon one eye and playing upon a 
bag-pipe, he wandered through the glass district of Duiibarton 
in Scotland and engaged his blowers to cross the Sea. With 
great difficulty they secreted their tools on Ship-hoard, forjt 
was a penal offense for glass-workers to leave Scotland as well 
as Germany. The Crown-hlowers were all Scotch, hut many 
of the Clyliner-blowers were German. The Cylinder-blowers 
werea poor set, intemperate and addicted to extravagant living. 
They were constantly neglecting their work at critical times 
and completely exhausted the patience of the manager, till in 
1810, through the carelessness of some of the blowers who 
were playing cards on a pile of straw in a packing-room, the 
cylinder works were burned down. The owners were not in- 
clined to rebuild, having suffered so much annoyance from 
their men. For two years, the works lay idle. Jn 1818 Mr. 
Isaac B. Fox and Mr. iS T athan R. Crandell concluded to revive 
the business and remodeled the Crown-works into a Cylinder- 
works. These gentlemen continued twelve years, and in 1830, 
Messrs. Stadler, Hush & Co., some Germans from New Jersey, 
leased the works for three years. In 1S33 they were sold t«. 
two sons of the first Mr. Fox, Messrs. Albert R. and Samuel 
H. Fox, who are still living, and it is to Mr. Albert R. to 
whom I am indebted for these facts about one of the most 
prosperous and long-lived plants in the country. The Fox 
brothers carried on the Sand Lake works for twenty years, 
until 1853, when they were burned. Before the distinction of 
these works, the Fox brothers had established works at Durhain- 
ville, Oneida Co., New York, where Mr. Samuel Fox is still 
manufacturing glass. Mr. Albert Fox was at once employed 
by the Berkshire Glass Co. to erect and manage their new 
enterprise in Lanesboro which we shall mention more fully 
hereafter. The first fifteen years of this century seemed to be 
years of great activity in the manufacture of glass. While 
the Sand Lake works which I have just described were the 
first in New York state, 1 find upon the State records that 
within the next ten years, fourteen glass companies were in- 
corporated in the State of New York. They were mostly short- 
lived and not one of the fifteen, including the Sand Lake, is 


Glass Manufacture in Berkshire. II 

in existence to-day. The first incorporated Glass Co. in Massa 
ehusetts, was located in Berkshire County, for the Boston 

Crown-works which I have spoken of, were not incorporated 
till 1824. The name of this first incorporated company, was 
the Adams Glass Company, date of incorporation June 15th, 
1812, and the names of its corporators John Whipple, James 
Mason, Daniel Shearman and others. 1 have been unable to 
get any information of this company except its date of in- 
corporation and that it was located in the town of Adams. 
The next incorporated company was the Boston Porcelain and 
Glass Co., February 4th, 1814. As this seems to have been 
more of a porcelain and earthen ware concern than of glass, J 
shall not dwell upon it. The third Glass Co. incorporated was 
in Chester and known as the Chester Glass Co. The date of 
incorporation is June 7, 1814. The names of incorporators are 
Jesse Farrar, John Dewey, Charles Douglas, D. and L. King, 
Benjamin Hastings and others. The only information 1 can 
get about these works, is that they ran one year. Two days 
later, June 9th, 1814, the Farmer's Glass Co. located in Clarks- 
burgli was incoporated. The names of incorporators were 
llufus Darling, Ebenezer Pratt, A. Southwick, Daniel Aldrich, 
John and Isaac Sherman. I have tried to get some information 
about these works, but have been unsuccessful. The fifth in- 
corporated Glass Co. was June 15, 1815, ''The Ludlow Glass 
Manufacturing Co.," at Ludlow near Springfield. Thus we 
see that four out of the first five incorporated Glass companies 
in Massachusets were located in the western part of the state. 
Another one and the most important of all, though a private 
enterprise and never incorporated, was the Cheshire Crown 
Glass Works, which were built and commenced operations in 
1813 according to the best authority that I can get. These 
Cheshire Works were the second in point of date, the Adams 
Co. being in 1812 and the Chester and Clarksburg being in 
1814. The Capitalist of this concern was Captain David 
Brown, and the company consisted of his sons Darius and 
John, John D. Leland, son of the celebrated Parson Leland, 
and a man named Hunt. These were crown works and situated 
on the stream and close by the present sand works of the 

42 Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

Gordon Co. Though built directly over one of the finest 

sand deposits in the country, the proprietors were ignorant of 
it and brought their sand some three miles from the Lane bed, 
previously mentioned in connection with the Sand Lake works. 
There are many interesting legends connected with these works,* 
relating principally to the difficulties encountered, trouble with 
drunken workmen, etc. They ran only between two and three 
years, but sufficiently long, to financially ruin the proprietors. 
Captain Brown ran a store and distillery in connection with t In- 
Glass Works, and from his day-book which 1 have, the work- 
men seem to have been more dependent upon the distillery 
than upon the store for their daily pay. 1 have on a separate 
sheet the records of all the incorporated Glass Work.- in the 
state, since this time, but only mention two, and these, on 
account of their present importance, until we come to the 
Berkshire Glass Co. 

There were many Flint works established between 1815 and 
1860, but the Xew England Glass Co. of East Cambridge, in- 
corporated in 1818, and the Boston and Sandwich in 1^2(>, have 
been the most prominent, and are in active operation to-day. 
Their wares are famous the land over as being most beautiful 
and artistic. The superiority of their wares is due to the 
Berkshire Sand, which they as well as the others who attempt 
to compete with them, are obliged to use. Their only rivals, 
in Pittsburgh and W r heeling, Va., use the Berkshire sand. I 
will here remark that the only obstacles to Berkshire becoming 
the great and chief glass-producing locality in our country, are, 
lack of |Jieap fuel and high rail-road freights. On March '2;5, 
1847, was incorporated the Berkshire Glass Co. The original 
incorporators are Samuel Smith, W 7 . D. B. Linn and William 
T. Filley, well known names to this audience. The Capital 
stock was limited to $100,000.00. The stock was principally 
taken in Boston and it became, before beginning manufactur- 
ing, virtually a Boston concern. In 1853, soon after the dis- 
tinction of the Sand Lake works, Mr. A. It. Fox was appointed 
Superintendent and the works were immediately erected. 
With the exception of one year, during the panic of 1857-8, 
these works have been constantly in operation and are the only 

Glass Manufacture in Berkshire, ■!.'{ 

window-glass works in operation in New England. The Berk- 
shire Glass Co. abandoned manufacturing in 1857. Mr. Fox 

resigned the superintendence after one year's service and was 
succeeded by Mr. S. T. Whipple, who continued in charge till 
1857, when the works were closed. They were bought by the 
present owners in 1858 and very much enlarged, so that their 
present capacity is quadruple that of the original works as 
built by the Berkshire Glass Company. There has been added 
to the original production of common cylinder glass, thin- 
rolled plates and colored cathedral, also the processes of grind- 
ing and enamelling. 

From 1858 to 1883 the works were operated by the firms of 
Page & Robbing, Page & Harding, and Page, Harding & Co. 
In 1883 they were again incorporated as The Berkshire (J lass 
Company, the stockholders being members of the old firm of 
Page, Harding & Co. While fairly prosperous for thirty years, 
they are now suffering from competition with factories where 
natural gas and other cheap fuels abound, and where rail-road 
freights are much more advantageous than in Berkshire. Soon 
after the incorporation of the Berkshire Glass Co. we find May 
2nd, 1849, on the state records, that of the Massachusetts Glass 
Co. in Cheshire. Various experiments in the manufacture of 
rough plate glass were made by the company, but it was 

In 1853, the same year that the Berkshire Glass Co. began 
operation, Glass Works were erected at Lenox Furnace by the 
Lenox Iron Co. Seneca Pettee was the first Superintendent. 
Window glass was made during two short blasts. Not proving 
a financial success, the manufacture of window glass was 
abandoned. In the fall of 1855 the property was leased to J. 
N. Richmond and the factory was changed from window glass 
to rough plate. During the winter of 1855-6 a stock company 
was organized by Richmond under the name of the National 
Plate Glass Co. The tables for casting and other fixtures were 
moved from Cheshire, where an attempt to manufacture plate 
glass had been made by Richmond a short time previous to this. 
The Stockholders were princinally from New York, and chief 
among them were Judge Lawrence and Richard Bu steed, 

44 Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

formerly Corporation Counsel for New York city. The enter 
prise was not successful and in the fall of 1856, this company 

failed and the works fell hack into the hands of the Lenox 
Iron Co. 

In the Spring of 1858 the Iron Co. resumed the manufacture 
of Rough Plate Glass, and made a successful run till 18G6, 
when the works were destroyed by lire, involving ;i l<»> of 
buildings and $25,000 worth of manufactured stock with no 
insurance. They were immediately rebuilt of wood and .suc- 
cessfully run till May, 1805, when the Lenox Plate Glass Co. 
was organized and continued the manufacture of Rough Plate 
till December 1869, when the property and business was trans- 
ferred to a new company called the Lenox Glass Co. This 
new company erected a large plant of iron and added to the 
Bough Plate business the manufacture of window glass and 
Cryolite glass, and also erected a fine building for polishing 
the Rough Plate. A large amount of the money was expended 
for machinery, which proved a failure and the company was 
obliged to succumb. The sand for. these works was obtained 
from Washington Mountain from a bed at the east end of Lake 
Ashley, the source of Pittsfield's water supply. While Berk- 
shire County has the purest, whitest sand in the world, the 
essential element for making the finest glass, its manufacture 
is probably doomed from the lack of cheap fuel, which other 
localities possess, and from the heavy transportation rates con- 
sequent upon having no competing railroad lines. The freight 
rates from Berkshire to New York are higher than from 
Belgium, the great glass producing country of the world. The 
excessive freight rates on coal from Albany to Berkshire makes 
the full cost more than twenty-five per cent above that of other 
districts where glass is made. 




The ownership of lands in severalty by Indians is one of 
the important topics of Social Science to-day. Its bearings 
are both political and humanitarian, and its proper adjustment 
has awakened the sympathy and wisdom of philanthropists, 
male and female, throughout the land. 

It may net be within the knowledge of many of the present 
dwellers in our County that the experiment and its results were 
made facts in Stockbridge, in our own Berkshire, nearly 150 
years ago, and, taken in connection with similar attempts on a 
smaller scale in some other of our New T England common- 
wealths, and its repetition with the emigrant Housatonics on 
their present reservation in Wisconsin, may be regarded as 
conclusive so far as direct contact with the whites is concerned 

An important day it was — that 11th of June, 1750 — when 
the dusky reamers of the lower Ilousatonic valley gathered 
at the Mission meeting-house in Stockbridge for a purpose 
whose importance, probably neither they nor their few pale- 
faced neighbors at the time fully realized. That purpose is 
set forth in the following document from the State archives: 

"In Council. Dec. 29, 1749. 

It is herebj resolved and declared, that the Indians of the Housatonic 
Tribe, who are and have been settlers or proprietors of land within tin- 
town of Stockbridge, and their heirs or desendants, are and .shall be a 
distinct propriety ; and that Timothy Dwiglit, Esq., be, and hereby is, 
empowered to repair to said town as soon as may be, ami call a meeting of 
the proprietors aforesaid, by posting a notification in writing on the fore- 
side of the meeting-house in said town 14 days before the time appointed 
for holding said meeting, setting forth the time, place, ends and purposes 

48 Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

of said meeting ; at which meeting said proprietors are hereby empowered, 
by a major vote, to ascertain the number of the proprietors, and what 
each proprietor's portion shall be, and to choose a Clerk who shall be 
under oath to record all legal notes, grants and orders of said proprietors 
in a book for the purpose, and also of all the lands heretofore laid out by 
order of the Committee formerly appointed by the General Court for that 
purpose. And the said proprietors are hereby empowered to call meetings 
hereafter at any time that ten of said proprietors shall judge necessary,. 
they applying to the Clerk by writing under their hands for the same, 
setting forth the ends and purposes of said meeting, and the Clerk posting 
the same on the foreside of the meeting-house 14 days before the said 
meeting be held ; at which meeting respectively the major part of said 
proprietors are hereby empowered to choose a Moderator and all such 
officers as proprietors of general fields, by the laws of this Province may 
do and for the better regulating and ordering of the affairs of said pro- 
priety ; and to divide and dispose of their undivided lands to and amongst 
the said proprietors or any of them, as they shall judge necessary for their 
settlement and improvement. And also may admit Indians of other tribes 
to live amongst them, and they make grants of lands to such Indians in 
order to their improving the same ; such grants to be made with this 
proviso or condition — that, in case the said grantee or his descendants shall 
leave the settlement and remove from the said town of Stockbridge, they 
shall not have the power of alienating or any way disposing of said 
granted lands, but the same shall revert to the proprietors. 

And it is further declared that the Indian inhabitants of the town of 
Stockbridge are and shall be, subjected to and receive the benefit of the 
laws of this Government to all intents and purposes in like manner as 
other, his Majesty's subjects of this Province are subjected or do receive. 
Provided always — that nothing in this order shall be understood to enable 
any of his Majesty's English subjects to become purchasers of any part of 
the Indian lands contrary to the provision made by law for preventing 
the same. 

Sent down for concurrence, 

Samuel Hoolbkooke, Dept. Sec. 
In the House of Representatives, Dec. 30, 1749. 

Read and concurred, J. Dwight, Speaker. 
Consented to— S. Phipps." 

The records closes with this addendum : 

" The original, of which the above is a true copy, I posted on the fore- 
side of the Meeting-house above said, on the 26th day of May above said. 

Attest, Timothy Dwigiit. 

On the day appointed a motley assemblage of aboriginal 
candidates for civilization was gathered in the Mission meeting- 
house to receive their first lesson in individual possession of 
real estate. Mr. Dwight was elected Moderator and Timothy 

Indian Land Grants in StocJcbridge. 49 

Woodbridge — (Mr. Sergeants schoolmaster) — Clerk. The prep- 
aration of the list of claimants and the process of allotment 
occupied two days. It was ascertained that sixty tawny pre- 
senters were entitled to ownership in severalty, of whom four 
were of other tribes and one a negro who had married a squaw 
of the Honsatonics, and by virtue of the conditions of the 
grant, was permitted to receive and hold, but not to alienate, 
his allotment. Thirteen of the 60, with Capt. Konkapot 
among them had priority, as " settlers and proprietors," assumed 
control of 1,670 acres, in varying portions, of their own 
selection, probably as having been residents within the bound- 
aries of the new township, while the others were gathered in 
from their other two centers, at Gt. Barnngton and Sheffield. 
It was, however, amicably agreed that these 1,670 acres should 
be equally divided, between them, and any shortage in actual 
due made up from the undivided lands. Of the sixty, ten 
received 80 acres ; ten 60 ; thirty-nine 50 ; and one ten acres. 
Their names, (of which 3-1 have an English or Dutch pronuncia- 
tion) — expressed in from 3 to 6 uncouth syllables, are duly 
recorded with the accompanying allotments in painful fidelity 
by the Clerk, whose time and patience must have been sorely 
tried by the task. T observe, however, that he is not always 
uniform in his orthography: since the same name, when 
repeated elsewhere, betrays a desire to get at a result by the 
phonetic method. as being the shortest road and beyond danger 
of legal censure in a point on which the owner himself of the 
appellative could give him no reliable information. Some of 
these embryo citizens are to be recognized on the records of 
the town with their white brethren in the offices of the select- 
men, assessors, constables, fence-viewers, etc. ; two, at least, 
as deacons in the church, and several bearing military titles 
during service in the Colonial and Revolutionary wars. I find 
no mention of Lieut. Umpachene, (except once as if owner of 
an adjacent lot) — who was the second man of the tribe when 
the mission was established, although he lived till August, 
1751. But Capt. Konkapot, Dea. Panquannawpeet, Benjamen 
Kankeenawnauwant, (Anglice "King Ben") who lived 104 
years, and Johannes Metoxin, of the sturdy lungs, who blew 

50 Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

the great conch-shell to call to church, for 20 shillings per 
annum — these all bore off their award of <S0 acres with dignity 
thrown in, on that famous day. 

The six English families who had been invited to conic and 
settle among them several years before, as pattern farmers and 
housekeepers, were already in possession of their respective 
endowments, comprising a 60th part of the new township, 
each. Four of the six occupied the ridge lying directly north 
of the present village, which they evidently designed should 
be the commercial and social center of the town. Only one 
of the dwellings they erected there — (the second and last home 
of the missionary Sergeant, built, probably, in 1747), is still 

At their first meeting the proprietors voted that they " would 
make a division of but half of their undivided lands at present, 
that they might be able with convenience to admit Indians of 
other tribes to live among them and make grants to them for 
improvements, so long as said Indians or their descendants shall 
dwell in the town and do common duties with others." 

The Commissioner next proceeded to lay off the lots along 
what is now the Main street of the village, with the design — 
so saith the record — "of describing what each person i> in 
possession of and thereby laying a foundation for quiet 
possession hereafter, rather than attempt any new division 
according to their rights as proprietors in the Township." 

Whatever this may have meant, the next transaction was the 
laying off of a plot of ground 20 rods square, including the 
site of the Meeting-house, as a public common and training- 
field, A portion of it was also assigned as a Cemetery for 
whites and red-men, the latter having previously buried their 
dead in the sandy shoulder of a low bluff which breaks down 
toward the Housatonic just in the rear of the present residence 
of Col. Dwight. A unique monument, built a few years since 
by the Laurel Hill Association, occupies the center of this 
sepulchral spot. This square was the initial point from which 
diverged the main street and the highways in these directions. 
The former ran about due east and nearly level for one mile 
to Mill brook, where now stands the sawmill of Mr. S. M. 

Indian Land Grants in Stochbridge. 51 

Comstock. It was laid 6>4 rods wide for about two-thirds of 
its length, and contracted to \y<z for the remainder. The 
house-lots along the street varied in frontage, from G to 22 rods 
along the north side and still more on the other. From the 
old field-book, with a tape line, the present villagers of Stock- 
bridge can aseertain, though they may not be able to pronounce 
the name of the original owners of their properties. The 
writer had the curiosity to do so, and finding that his house- 
lot was assigned to "Capt. Jno. Konkapot and his son Robert," 
improved the suggestion and dubbed his residence "The 
Wigwam" — which although neither pretentions nor classical, 
has, at least, the merit of being specific and historical. These 
north-side village lots ran so far northward as to meet the south 
line of the English holdings on the hill. 

And now, all the preliminaries of civil life having been 
finished, the novitiates settled down to its practice. It is known 
that the influences of their church, their school, their model 
farmers and housekeepers, and the social habits and examples 
of their white occupants, all operated to set them, in civil 
status, quite in advance of any of the aboriginal tribes of our 
country before or since, with the exception of the Cherokees, 
Choctaws and Creeks of the present time. As has been 
already mentioned, they were represented among the town and 
church officials, bore military titles, were enrolled among the 
alumni of Harvard and Dartmouth, and one of them wrote a 
comprehensive and creditable history of his people. 1 have 
found on several old deeds of sale excellent specimens of Indian 
penmanship — (some of them the signatures of squaws) — and 
as frequent as those made by mark. 

The Proprietors' Record-Book shows that regular Annual 
and many special, meetings were held henceforward, the last 
occurring in May, 1781, although surveys of the land sold or 
otherwise alienated, are recorded to 1790. Until his decease 
in 1774, the venerable Timothy Woodbridge continued both 
moderator and clerk at all these gatherings. His own minutes 
prove that his services were not uncompensated, and probably 
few items which his duty obliged him to record gave him 
greater satisfaction than those which, every now and then, 

52 Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

registered a grant of " 50 aeres of undivided lands" in his own 
behoof. His 24 years' official work must have made him a 
large land holder. It may he that he, like many other 
managers, while looking carefully with one eye after the 
interests of his dependent clients, kept the other fully as 
widely open to his own. This may seem to he measuring an 
old-time official by a modern standard, and as in so doing we 
may defame a really worthy trustee, we will gladly give him 
the benefit of the doubt and expunge the recorded suggestion. 

A natural query may here be started. Why did this state of 
things continue less than 40 years % Why did the grantees 
leave the scene of their adopted civilization and fruitful 
progress, and lapse so far into insignificance as that, probably, 
many of the present occupants of their old allotments may never 
have even heard of them? 

The question may, I opine, find an explanation from the 
time-stained pages of the "Proprietors' Book," and in the 
century's experience since of our dealing with others of the 
red-race within our national borders. 

Let us then to the records : — 

At the meeting of May 1706, it was thus voted : " Granted 
to Win. Goodrich" — (a white hotel-keeper and a captain of 
minute-men in the Revolution) — " in consideration of his 
having his ox killed, 50 acres of land." And again — " Yoted 
100 acres * * * to Daniel Rowley Richmond, in con- 
sideration of his paying £37 for Jacob Unkamug, to liberate 
said Unkamug from prison." 

Another — " Voted that T. Woodbridge, Esq., make sale for 
the payment of the just debts of the Indian proprietors who 
have not ability otherwise to discharge their debts, all that 
tract of land lying &c, &e." 

Again — " Voted and granted to Elias and Benjamen Willard 
100 acres of land, in consideration of their discharging £50 
New York currency debts due to them from sundry Indian 
proprietors." At the same time 50 acres were granted to 
Stephen Nash " to encourage him to set up his blacksmith's 
trade in the town of Stockbridge." 

Indian Land Grants in Stockbridge. 53 

In 1767, it was — "Voted that 100 acres of land belonging to 
tlie Indian proprietors of Stockbridge be sold for the payment 
of a debt of £40 due to one Moses Parsons of Windsor." 

A little of the nepotism, so common in modern times, looks 
out of one item in 1701), thus — " Voted to Timothy Wood- 
bridge, Jr., son of Timothy Woodbridge, 50 acres of land to 
be laid out in the town, where the said child's friends shall 

Another item : " Voted that two 50 acre lots on Maple 
Hill, also 20 acres adjoining the same be sold for the payment 
of the proprietors' debt." At the next meeting 50 acres more 
were ordered sold for the same purpose. Another vote author- 
izes 56 acres more devoted to the same object. 

Medical services rendered the Indians were paid in the same 
manner, as per the following — " Voted, that Timothy Wood- 
bridge pay to Dr. Sergeant for doctoring the Indians about £9 
lawful money — te be paid out of the Indians' money for 
lands sold." 

Here is a minute of another sort: "Voted and granted to 
Joseph Woodbridge and Zeuas Parsons 150 acres of land in 
cansideration of £71, 15 shillings lawful money, which said 
Joseph and Zenas advanced and expended for said Indian 
proprietors in their endeavoring to recover the lands belonging 
to them for their services in the Government as soldiers." 

In 1769, 40 acres were sold to cancel an Indian debt and to 
defray their part of the expense of fencing the burying-ground. 
At the same meeting Capt. Daniel Niinham, " owing a large 
sum of money which he cannot pay, save by the sale of his 
original grant," is given liberty to do so. It was also voted — 
"That, whereas Geo. Mineturn, having been long sick and 
thereby in debt, and still unable to do any business for a liveli- 
hood, that he have liberty to make sale of the 50 acre lot which 
the proprietors granted him, for to pay his debts and support 
him under his difficulties." 

The Surveyors of the lands ordered sold also seem to have 
received remarkably good compensation in kind ; as, in 1770, 
50 acres of Indian land were so devoted. And in the same 


Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

year 50 acres were sold to aid in building a bridge over the 

One of* the articles of the warrant for the Annual Meeting 
of 1771 reads thus : — " To see if the said proprietors will order 
and grant some of their common lands to he sold for the pay- 
ment of several Indian debts, who have judgements of courts 
and executions issued against them, and must unavoidably be 
committed to jail, except relieved by the proprietors." The 
sequel of this was the sale of a very large tract of mountain 
wood land to Col. Williams and Dea. Brown, the former of 
whom was the founder of the West Stockbridge Iron Works. 

In 1780, it was voted to sell all the remaining undivided 
lands in the south part of the town for the payment of the 
public debts. 

It seems occasionally to have occurred to these new wards of 
civilization that the shins of those with whom they were deal- 
ing might be whiter than some of their transactions; that the 
general management of their affairs was somewhat inexplicably 
one-sided ; in short, that if there were no overt trickery on the 
part of their English neighbors, there was a considerable 
economy of patent honesty. A vote passed at the annual 
meeting of 1770 is suggestive. Thus it runs : — " Yoted — That 
the Surveyor shall ascertain the quantity of lots laid out by 
the English, which have been sold by the Indians, in order to 
know whether such lots do not exceed the quantity so sold, and 
that said surveyor and chairman shall he under oath for the 
faithful discharge of said service." The above are specimens 
of some 60 votes on the subject of Indian-land sales, more or 
less comprehensive, for various reasons, during about 30 years. 
As only the whites had the wherewithal for purchase and pay- 
ment, it may be seen how, gradually, but surely, the little 
Indian commonwealth was swallowed and absorbed by their 
astute and thrifty neighbors. Toward the close of the resi- 
dence of the tribe in Stockbridge, they seemed to have 
awaked to the fact that the superior intelligence and the greed 
of the pale-faces were too much for them and were surely 
leading them to pauperism and extinction. When, therefore, 
the friendly offer of the Oneidas of Central New York was 

Indian Land Grants in Stochbridge. 55 

tendered, of a share in their own Reservation, it presented the 
alternative of tribal death or final removal from their straitened 
locality, even at the sacrifice of the burial place of their 
fathers. Their experience had proved that " knowledge is 
power," and that power is not unselfish. The simple fact 
seems to have been, that, even without attributing deliberate 
intention in the premises, the natural and inevitable result of 
the contract of simplicity with shrewdness, of ignorance with 
intelligence, of barbarism with civilization, happened in. this 
case, as, methinks, it will ever happen — the weaker party must 
go to the wall. In the vegetable kingdom it is the invariable 
law, that the stronger growth will crowd out and re-place the 
weaker, and the same law prevails in the world of mankind. 
Given the juxtaposition, or rather, the commingling of an 
enterprising, intelligent and progressive, with a simple, un- 
tutored and indolent people, and neither philosophy nor meta- 
physics need be tasked to foretell the outcome. 

As tending farther to enlighten the severalty experiment, its 
repetition with the same people, some 45 or 50 years ago, may 
here be noted. After their last removal to Shawanee Co., 
Wisconsin, where they now are, a tine tract of timber on their 
reservation attracted the notice of some white speculators who 
were eager to gain possession. Unable to obtain the vote of 
the tribe, as a body, to that end, they craftily persuaded their 
proposed victims that land-ownership in severalty would give 
them a. more independent status in the social scale and push 
them a long step forward toward full citizenship. Against 
strong opposition by the elders of the tribe who foresaw the 
results, they gained over many of the younger men, and col- 
luding with the District representative in Congress, prepared 
a bill, engineered it through, and then, with the usual machinery 
of agents and Commissioners, made an individual distribution 
of the land. Next, with the shining coin in hand, they obtained 
their timber and left their dupes to encounter the results. 
These were — that a large portion of the tribe, mostly the young 
and inexperienced, who had been bought out, found their 
presence unwelcome, and having squandered the proceeds of 
their severalties, were told to shift for themselves and relieve 


Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

the remonstrants of their support. This they did by becoming 

scattered and merged with the wilder natives of the farther 
west. Tims the formerly united and prosperous little com- 
munity was reduced by more than a third of its members. As 
soon as the mischievous tendency of the enactment was 
realized, through the exertions of their preacher and leaders, 
aided by a few philanthropic congressmen of the present 
Dawes pattern, it was repealed and matters placed in statu 
quo, except the consequences of the measure, which were 

As mentioned in our prefatory remarks, our story has chosen 
relations with questions concerning our Western Indians now- 
agitating the country. To my own mind one thing appears 
morally certain — that to render any experiment of land-owning 
in severalty effectual of solid and permanent good to the 
Indians, absolute prohibition of white residency among them, 
save for educational purposes, should be enacted and enforced. 
I understand Mr. Dawes' bill on the subject, now pending- 
Congressional action, forbids alienation of ownership for 2.5 
years; inferring, doubtless, that a quarter century will suffice 
to render the recipients competent, with proper appliances in 
aid, to manage their own affairs independently of white in- 
fluence. This may suffice to save the Indian from extinction, 
and it may not. Certainly the time is brief enough for the 
demonstration of a great moral problem on wdiose results we 
may speculate ; but which are knowable only to Him "who 
controls events and governs futurity." 




The rivalry of Col. Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold re- 
garding the question of leadership in the Ticonderoga and 
Crown Point campaign will be readily recalled as it was pre- 
eminently a Berkshire expedition. This emulation between 
the two leaders was in reality the cause of Arnold's expedition 
to Quebec — a fact that has been generally overlooked by 
historians. The shores and waters of Lakes Champlain and 
George had already been the scenes of exciting conflict in the 
French and Indian Wars. 

These lakes and their vicinity had been visited by Arnold 
when a boy ; and, being thoroughly acquainted with their 
neighborhood, he now conceived the idea of attacking the im- 
portant posts along their shores which he knew were care- 
lessly guarded and were well filled with valuable stores and 

Hastening to Cambridge he presented his case so well that a 
committee appointed for the purpose immediately commissioned 
him colonel, and authorized him to raise four hundred troops 
for the expedition. The Congress of Massachusetts, voted him 
money, ammunition and horses, and he at once started for 
Western Massachusetts, where he had been instructed to raise 

Arriving in Stockbridge early in May, 1775, he was astonished 
at learning that a well-equipped company under the command 
of Ethan Allen had already started out with the same purpose 
in view and were now well on their way towards the lakes. 
"Without waiting to raise troops, Arnold hastily advanced and 
soon overtook Allen's party, when he showed his credentials 
and claimed the command. The " Green Mountain boys," 

00 Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

however, refused to recognize the alleged rights of the stranger, 
naturally preferring their own officers. The controversy ended 

in Arnold's yielding ; and he accompanied the expedition as a 
volunteer, though still maintaining his rank. 

Side by side these two brave men underwent the fatigues 
and dangers incident to the march and the attack on the forts; 
but they did not share equally in the glory of the victory. 
To Allen fell all the praise, while Arnold's brave deeds excited 
little attention, his zeal and energy being passed over almost 
unnoticed. Stung by this lack of appreciation (for Arnold 
was a proud man) and angered by the insults of his enemies in 
Massachusetts, who had magnified his faults, he handed in his 
resignation and abandoned Crown Point. 

Arnold had already won the confidence and friendship of 
Gen. Washington ; and now, in his trouble, he naturally turned 
to him for advice. His restless brain had planned a daring 
expedition (although it is doubted whether he originated the 
idea,) viz. an attack upon Quebec by marching through the 
wilderness of Maine. 

The importance of this city, Quebec, in a military point of 
view during the Revolutionary War cannot be overestimated. 
Situated on rocky cliffs and made almost impregnable by nature 
and the art of man, this "Gibraltar of America" had ever 
been regarded by England and France as the key to the 

The project of storming Quebec and winning over the 
Canadians to take sides with the Colonies as against the Mother 
Country was a plan long cherished by Washington ; and indeed 
he had already despatched Gen. Schuyler to lead an army up 
into Canada by the way of the Great Lakes. 

The route Arnold proposed lay through vast forests and 
swamps and along rushing rivers made dangerous by hidden 
rocks and unexpected water falls. These adventurers would 
have to feel their way as few, if any, guides had ever penetrated 
into this wilderness. 

The only sources of information open to them were a meagre 
journal written by an explorer some fifteen years before, to- 
gether with a few scanty facts obtained from friendly Indians 

Arnold's Expedition to Quebec. 61 

and an imperfect map made by a surveyor, winch was of use 
to them only during the first stages of the journey. 

An enterprise so hazardous, encompassed by so many diffi- 
culties and dangers, was not to be lightly undertaken. That 
Washington appreciated its importance as well as its dangers 
is shown by a letter to Arnold, u You are entrusted with a 
command " he says, " of the utmost consequence to the liberties 
of America ; on your conduct and courage and that of the 
officers and soldiers detached on this expedition not only the 
success of your present enterprise and your own honor, but the 
safety and welfare of the whole country may depend." 

This expedition should be of especial interest to us, as most 
of the soldiers were natives of Massachusetts and Connecticut, 
and were the bravest and best of the New England Continental 
troops. The detachment consisted of ten companies of musket- 
men and three companies of riflemen, most of them well-to-do 
and independent farmers who were unused to the discipline of 
the camp. The three campanies of riflemen were carefully 
selected troops from the mountainous parts of Virginia and 
Pennsylvania, all familiar with the management of the birch- 
canoe, skilled in wood-craft and well acquainted with the wild 

Such an expedition and such a body of men needed to be 
commanded by an officer at once resolute and sagacious, having 
in short, all the inborn qualities of a natural leader of men ; 
and such a one Arnold proved himself to be. 

Gen. Washington, in his letter to Congress, dated Sept. 21st, 
1775, says, " I am now to inform the honorable Congress, that, 
encouraged by the repeated declarations of the Canadians and 
Indians and urged by their requests I have detached Col. 
Arnold with 1000 men to penetrate into Canada by the way of 
the Kennebec river, and, if possible, to make himself master 
of Quebec. By this maneuvre I expect either to divert 
Carleton from St. Johns, which would leave a free passage to 
Gen. Schuyler : or, if this did not take effect, Quebec in its 
present defenceless state, must fall into his hands an easy prey." 

lie also furnished Arnold with copies of a manifesto,printed at 
Cambridge, that he might distribute them among the Canadians. 

62 Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

This address was signed by Washington, and concludes with 
the follow woi'ds : " Let no man desert his habitation — let no 
one flee as before an enemy. The cause of America and of 
Liberty is the cause of every virtuous American citizen ; what- 
ever may be his religion or his descent, the United Colonies 
know no distinction, but such as slavery, corruption and 
arbitrary dominion may create. 

Come, then, ye generous citizens ! range yourselves under 
the standard of general Liberty — against which all the force 
and artifice of tyranny will never be able to prevail !" 

Early in September 1775, everything being in readiness, the 
troops embarked at Newbury port on transports and reached 
their starting point, not far from the present city of Augusta, 
near the end of the month. 

Arnold's plan was to ascend the Kennebec as far as practic- 
able, thence to push his way over the water-shed separating the 
rivers of New England from those of Canada ; and when once 
over the "carry" (as such portages are called) he hoped to be 
able to strike some branch of the Chaudiere, a stream emptying 
into the St. Lawrence. 

That the perils and privations incident to a journey of this 
nature could have been surmounted seems incredible to the 
modern sportsman who passes his summer vacation hunting 
and fishing in these same woods. AVhile being paddled by his 
guide up the beautiful waters of the Kennebec, his birch well 
stocked with all things needful — coffee, sugar, canned vegetables, 
potted meats, etc. — his portable tent rolled up behind him, bis 
fly-rod and repeating rifle by his side — he can with difficulty 
realize that a little more than one hundred years ago this small 
party of brave men toiled on through these solitudes, drenched 
by every storm, insufficiantly clad and ofttimes half starved ; 
and for what object? the storming of the strongest and most 
perfectly equipped fortress on the continent ! 

Although this scheme may seem to us preposterous and fool- 
hardy, we should remember that these were no ordinary men- — 
theirs was no ordinary leader. Arnold's control over -his men 
on this march was simply wonderful ; his personal magnetism 
and cheerful bearing gladdened every despairing heart and en- 

Arnold's Expedition to Quebec. 63 

couraged the troops to endure to the end. That such was the 
ease is shown by the letter of an officer written shortly after- 
wards : "Our Commander" he says, " is a gentleman worthy 
of the trust reposed in him, a man, I believe, of invincible 
courage, of great prudence; ever serene, lie deties the greatest 
danger to affect, or difficulties to alter, his temper: in line 
you will ever find him the intrepid hero and the unruffled 

One of the earliest, as well as one of the greatest difficulties 
to be overcome was the method of securing transportation for 
the troops. Jlorses were out of the question, as the trackless 
forest could be traversed only by the deer or other denizens of 
the woods. 

In order to gain as accurate a knowledge of the country as 
possible, Arnold sent on in advance a scouting party of eight 
or ten men who were to select the most available route and 
" blaze" the trees as they proceeded to guide the remainder of 
the army behind. Perhaps in no better way can we get at a 
true knowledge of the hardships undergone by the army than 
by a recital of the difficulties and dangers which befell this 
advance party. 

In two birch-bark canoes, each carrying five or six men, a 
barrel of pork, a bag of meal and two or three hundred pounds 
of biscuit, this brave little party started oil' on their long and 
dangerous journey through the hitherto almost unexplored 
wilderness. At first they encountered few, if any difficulties ; 
soon however, leaving the broad waters of the Kennebec they 
pushed up a smaller stream, around whose frequent falls and 
shallows the canoes and their loads had to be carried on the 
shoulders of the party. 

The voyager of to-day is embarrassed but little by these 
" carries," as guides have cleared away the underbrush for the 
most part and the paths are well defined by reason of the fre- 
quent u blazed" trees. But at the time of which we write the 
summer hotel with its small army of guides was of course 
unknown ; no Yankee landlord had employed these same guides 
to make locomotion easy by the formation of corduroy roads. 
These "carries" were greatly dreaded, as the troops were 

64 Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

obliged to cut their way through thickets and toil labor- 
iously through swamps where they frequently sank in the soft 
mud up to their knees. Their progress was still further im- 
peded by their heavy load, being weighed down by the luggage 
as well as by the canoes, which although so light and graceful 
upon the waters, are, nevertheless,unwieldy and awkward things 
to manage on land and especially so in dense woods. 

Our description would be incomplete, did we fail to make 
mention of that bane of the woods, the mosquito. The 
average sportsman of today would as soon think of leaving 
his tly-rod at home as neglecting to take with him a bottle of 
tar and grease to smear over his face, hands and neck. Let us 
hope that this little band possessed a goodly poition of this 
invaluable mixture. It was a great trial to the soldiers to be 
obliged to refrain from firing at game, especially as they were 
so tired of their scanty diet of salt pork ; but the possible 
proximity of hostile Indians made this precaution imperative. 

It was now well on in October. As the party advanced the 
weather grew r colder, and owing to their insufficient clothing 
their sufferings were extreme. After an incredible amount of 
labor these scouts succeeded in reaching their destination, viz. 
the head waters of the Chaudiere ; they then turned and re- 
traced their steps to join the main party, which was struggling 
on far behind. Though meeting with many mishaps, such as 
sinking their conoes by running upon hidden rocks and falling- 
over unseen precipices on their way over the " carries," the 
hungry and starving men, reduced to extreme weakness by long 
fasting, finally regained the army and were welcomed by their 
comrades as men returned from the dead. 

The advance of the army was extremely slow. The rifle 
corps always preceded the other troops ; the loaded boats usually 
carried three men apiece, while the remainder of the troops 
marched by land. After many weary days the great " carry " 
over the water-shed was finally reached and the army continued 
its march through the woods along the banks of the Chaudiere. 
The French word signifies a " "cauldron " and the word is aptly 
applied, for the swift boiling waters of the stream dashed to 
pieces every boat launched upon it. 

Arnold? s Expedition to Quebec. 65 

Although the most difficult part of their journey had been 
accomplished, they had not yet completed their toilsome march. 
Provisions had long since failed them and the little army was 
toiling down the river, weary, disconsolate and starving. Men 
would constantly dart from the ranks and dig up roots of plants 
with their fingers, eating them raw. Two or three dogs belong- 
ing to the soldiers were eagerly devoured, and after the meal 
the bones were carefully collected, pounded up, and boiled to 
make broth for another meal. Old moose-hide breeches were 
first boiled, then broiled on the coals and eaten — in fact all the 
horrors of famine were experienced during this stage of the 
journey by these unhappy men. 

It was a memorable day for these weary adventurers when, 
on the third of November, they emerged from the wilderness 
and entered a flat, rich country, finely cultivated and dotted 
with farm-houses. Their perilous journey was ended, but un- 
known dangers awaited them yet. What a picture this scene 
presents ! A little band of men, at the best not more than 
seven hundred strong, (for many had fallen by the way) ex- 
hausted and nearly disheartened by the terrible sufferings they 
had undergone, rallying around their leader to inarch forward 
to the assault of Quebec. It was the plan of Arnold to take 
the city by surprise ; but in this project he was defeated by his 
imprudence in sending a letter to a friend by an Indian, who 
betrayed his confidence and delivered the dispatches to the 
Governor General of the Provinces, nearly a month before 
Arnold's arrival at the gates of Quebec. 

Upon arriving at Point Levi, opposite Quebec, they found 
that every boat in the neighborhood had been removed or 
destroyed and that there were no means for ferrying the troops 

Arnold, however, was not discouraged ; he had not come all 
this distance to be baffled at the very threshold by any such 
difficulty. By almost superhuman exertions he procured some 
forty birch bark canoes from the Canadians and Indians. But 
a heavy storm coming up, it was found impossible to make the 
attempt ; and the restless leader had to curb his impatience as 
best he might for several days before the water was sufficiently 


Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

smooth to hear the frail craft. The garrison in the town w;ts 
gaining in strength with every day's delay; hut Arnold was 
powerless and had to hide his time. 

At this point the inspiriting news that St. Johns had been 
captured by Montgomery was brought in and the soldiers were 
greatly cheered in consequence. 

That very night, the storm having abated, an immediate 
attack was agreed upon ; and with great difficulty and con- 
siderable danger, the troops were ferried across. By daylight 
the cliffs had been scaled and Arnold's ling was waving on the; 
Plains of Abraham under the very walls of the city in front 
of the Gate of St. John. Now was the golden opportunity; 
but the previous moments were consumed by a council of war. 
The intrepid Arnold was in favor of dashing through the gate, 
which was open and unguarded. Had they done so, successs 
would have been probable. But the more cautious ones advo- 
cated siege. Meantime the unsuspecting garrison (who thought 
the enemy still at Point Levi, held in check by the broad St. 
Lawrence) had been notified of the approach of the Colonials ; 
the news Hew through the city ; soldiers and citizens alike 
flocked to the walls and the din of arms resounded through 
the streets. Suddenly the cry was heard : " The gate of St. 
John is open!" "The gate is open!" A frantic rush was 
made for the gate. The keys were not be found ! The con- 
fusion and excitement were terrible. Hopes and hand spikes 
were quickly brought and the gate was made fast. An attempt 
was then made by the Americans to provoke a sally on the 
part of the British ; but they prudently remained behind the 
walls. In the evening- Arnold sent a flag of truce demand in <r 
the surrender of the city in the name of the United Colonies ; 
but his overtures were rejected and the flag was fired upon. 

Several days elapsed in this manner ; then came news of the 
surrender of Montreal, and shortly after Montgomery joined 
Arnold's forces and an immediate assault was decided upon. 
In this assault officers and soldiers did all in their power to 
carry the place; but the odds were too great. Finally, after a 
desperate struggle, with the brave Gen. Montgomery killed, 
Geu. Arnold severely wounded, and hundreds of their com- 

Arnold? 8 Expedition to Quebec 67 

rades lying dead before the walls, the intrepid fellows fell 
back, and Quebec was abandoned to the English. 

Looking back now, it is difficult to what the result 
would have been if the expedition had proved successful. 

It has been suggested that the power of the free states thus 
strengthened might have prevented the extension of slavery — 
that slavery itself might possibly have been abolished without 
the intervention of the great Civil war. On the other hand, 
although the fall of Quebec would have seemed like a great 
victory, nevertheless a large garrison would have been necessary 
to defend it ; and a concentration of the British troops upon 
the remainder of the Continental army, thus weakened, might 
have proved disastrous to the hopes of American independence. 

This expedition has been compared to the march of the Ten 
Thousand under Xenophon. But this was an advance — not a 
retreat; and every day brought the Americans nearer the 
enemy, as it took them further away from home. 

August 1st, 1883. 


its past and present. 



In the settlement and growth of our county, certain localities 

have fallen into decadence. This fact is especially true of the 
New England towns. Many of these towns, once thickly in- 
habited, prosperous in business and possessing flourishing 
educational and religious institutions, have greatly deteriorated. 
One of the saddest illustrations of this fact, is the town of 
Sandisfield, Berkshire Co., Mass. 

The original territory of this town was called No. 3, and in- 
corporated March 6th, 1762. Southfield, a tract containing 
11,000 acres, incorporated as a district June 19th, 1797, was 
annexed to the original territory Feb. 8th, 1819. Another 
tract, a part of East Otis, unincorporated, was annexed April 
9th, 1838. A portion of the boundary line between this town 
and Tolland was defined March 4th, 1853. A small portion 
of the town w r as annexed to Monterey April 21th, 1875. 

The old Indian trail — known by the first settlers as the 
Albany Road, passed through the extreme northern part of the 
town. The settlement of the town commenced in 1750. The 
Colonial and National censuses show the rapidity with which 
the town was settled. In 1765 there were 409 inhabitants ; 
in 1776, 1,011; in 1790, 1,742; in 1800, 1,857. In 1765 the 
town was the tenth largest, as to population, in the county ; in 
1776, the sixth ; in 1790, the sixth ; in 1800, the fourth. At 
the later date, Pittsfield's excess of population over Sand isfi eld's, 
was only 408; Williamstown's, 229; Sheffield's, 193. But 
Sheffield's excess would have been more had it not ceded 
territory to other towns. From 1765 to 1800 Sandisfield 
gained more inhabitants than any other Berkshire town except 
Pittsfield, whose excess of gain over Sandisfield's was only 385. 

72$ Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

»But when wo consider that Sheffield, Great Barrington, Stock- 
bridge and a few other towns lost considerable territory during 

this period, the above statement should be modified by saying, 
that Sandisfield was one of the five or six towns that were the 
most rapidly settled. In 1800 Sandisfield was at its height of 

The settlers were of genuine Puritan stock. A few families 
were of Huguenot origin. The majority came from near 
Plymouth, Mass., and from near Wethersfield and New Haven, 
Ct. A few scattering families came from other parts of 
Massachusetts and Connecticut. Many of these settlers, and 
probably the majority, were descendants of the first settlers of 
Massachusetts. As to natural talents, intelligence, moral 
principles and general characteristics, they were typical Puri- 
tans. They were a brainy people, and strong in all those 
elements and forces that produce civil liberty and an evangeli- 
cal church. 

Among the most prominent families that lived in Sandisfield 
75 and 100 years ago, I notice the names of Mills, Hall, 
Robinson, Bosworth, Wolcot, Agrault, Sears, Allen, Brown, 
Kilbourne, Smith, Hull, Deming, Barker, llawley, Jones and 

Before the days of rail roads population and business were 
more evenly spread over the country than now. Then, these 
country towns and cities were less divergent than now, in regard 
to their various institutions. Then, generally speaking, every 
parsonage was a theological seminary, every doctor's office a 
medical school ; every law office, a law school ; every home, a 
manufactory ; every farm, a little empire, that sought to be 
independent in the necessities of life and the raw materials 
for many kinds of manufacturing. This state of things was 
especially true of* Sandisfield in its earliest days. Then, it had 
a full supply of ministers, doctors, lawyers, public school 
teachers, merchants, manufacturers, artisans, farmers and 
laborers. There was no lack of men of ability and character 
to act as leaders in all town and church affairs. It was greatly 
enriched with noble families, educated and refined society, and 
enterprising youth. In those days a hundred couples of repu- 

Sandisfield : Its Past and Present. 73 

table gentlemen and ladies could easily be called together for a 
party or dance. 

Tbe surface of tbe town is generally uneven, and some 
parts are billy. Tbe soil is naturally rougli and stony. Most 
of tbe fences are stone Avails. In many places boulders and 
small stones are still thick upon tbe soil. And yet, tbe virgin 
soil was remarkably rich for agricultural purposes. Tbe first 
settlers rapidly subdued tbe soil and brought it to a high state 
of cultivation. Tbe farms were rich, well cultivated, produced 
large crops, and were readily sold. The Kilbourne farm, at 
the Centre, was one of the most valuable farms in Southern 
Berkshire and supported from 50 to GO cows, Tbe farmers, 
as was customary throughout the country before tbe days 
of rail roads, raised their own grain and meat, and a great 
variety of other products, such as were needed for home con- 
sumption. Large quantities of flax were raised, — so much, that 
two oil mills were in operation at the same time. One of tbe 
millstones can now be seen near Dea. J. U. Whitney's. Tbe 
maple tree grows spontaneously all over the town, and large 
quantities of maple sugar were made. The town was noted for 
making more sugar in a season than any other town in the 
state. The soil is especially adapted for the raising of grass. 
The pastures were generally free from brush, and feed grew 
luxuriantly. White clover abounded in some places. From 
the mow lands large burdens of hay were cut. Consequently 
the first inhabitants raised stock as a specialty ; and soon after 
the beginning of the present century, through the influence 
of the Hulls, the farmers made cheese a specialty. 

From tbe first settlement of the town to its rapid decline, it 
contained a variety of manufacturing interests. Sometime 
during this prosperous period, there were cloth dressers, carders, 
cabinet makers, scythe makers, wheelwrights, wagon makers, 
harness makers, shoe makers, candlestick makers, batters and 
coopers. There were saw mills and grist mills ; rake factories ; 
shops for turning wooden ware ; a silk mill, a woolen mill, and 
six tanneries, three of which were large, and one was very large. 
The Farmington river that forms the eastern boundery of the 
town, furnishes excellent water power, and this power has been 


Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

greatly increased by the creation of the Otis reservoir. The 
grade of this river is so low and the current so swift, that the 
water can he used many times over, in passing through the 
town. Many shops and mills have been built on this stream, 
from time to time, but its power has never been fully utilized. 
Clam river and Buck brook also furnish considerable water 
power, but this power might be increased by the building of 
reservoirs, which has been and might still be done. 

The trade of the town was on a par with its agriculture and 
manufacturing. There were stores in New Boston and Mont- 
ville, and for a long time four in the Centre, the largest being 
the famous Hull store, that was kept by father and son 6 W 2 
years A large business was done at this store. It contained 
for sale the tools and raw material for the artisans and manu- 
facturers, and everything else likely to be called for, from a 
pin to New England rum. At one time these stores took in 
in one season a hundred tons of cheese, the larger part being 
received at the Hull store. This cheese was freighted to Hud- 
son, N. Y., and Hartford, Ct. Trade in the other villages was 
correspondingly flourishing. In those days the trade of the 
town, for the most part, staid at home, where there was a 
ready and convenient exchange. The tanneries were a great 
help to the merchants, for the employees numbered many 
families ; and to the farmers, for they made a market for bark, 
hides and products for the employees. 

Sandisfield was a wealthy town. The flourishing condition 
of agriculture and manufacturing, the securing of trade from 
other towns, and the business capacity of the people, furnished 
a basis for this wealth. In 1769 the colonial tax was the fifth 
largest in the County, while the census of 1765 was the tenth 
largest. In 1770 the tax was the fourth largest ; in 1774, the 
seventh ; in 1775-8, the sixth, while the census during the 
Revolutionary period was the sixth largest. In the early days 
people came from Pittsfleld, Lenox, Lee and other places to 
Sandisfield* to borrow money. And Sandisfield gave Pittsfleld 
$300.00 to help build its meeting house. For more than 
seventy-five years the merchants did a thriving business, and 
the farmers were thriftv and forehanded. 

Sandisfield: Its Past and Present. 75 

Before the days of rail roads Sandisfield was a centre for 
Southeastern Berkshire and adjoining towns in Connecticut 
and Hampden County. There was a stage route that ran from 
Hartford, Ct., to Albany, N. Y., through Sandisfield, with a 
branch from the latter place to Pittsfield. The coaches were 
drawn by four horses. There was another route that ran from 
Springfield to Sheffield through Sandisfield. The termini of 
this route have been changed at various times. The eastern 
terminus is now Westfield and the western was once Sandisfield 
and now Tolland. On these turnpikes, over which the 
stages ran, there were toll gates and plenty of hotels. 
Sandisfield and certain other towns formed a military district. 
The wide street at the Centre was the parade ground for the 
militia. Many interesting stories are told of what took place 
on training days. There were sham fights and some that were 
not sham. If any one went thirsty on those days it was his 
own fault. The arsenal of the district was kept here. Trade 
came from other towns to Sandisfield to a certain extent. For 
many years the town was the centre of the cheese market for 
several towns. Cheese came here from Blandford, North 
Becket, and from Colebrook, Ct. The town was also supplied 
with professional men, that tended to make it a centre. There 
were in 1 S29, according to the Rev. Levi White, nine physicians 
and three lawyers. From 1800 to March 0th, 1807, there was 
a lawyer by the name of Ephraim Judson. Mr. Eliakin Hull 
and Squire Canfield commenced a petty law suit. The dollars 
involved were few, but enough to quarrel over. Mr. Hull en-, 
gaged Mr. Judson as his counsel. Squire Canfield came to Mr. 
Judson also to engage him as his counsel, but was too late. 
But Mr. Judson told Squire Canfield that he could secure com- 
petent counsel at Lenox, and that he would give him a letter 
of introduction to one. This he did. Squire Canfield took 
the letter, mounted his horse and proceeded towards Lenox. 
On arriving at Lee, his curiosity prompted him to open the letter 
and read it The letter read as follows : " Two fat geese ; 
you pluck one, and I will pluck the other." Squire Canfield 
turned his horse immediately towards home. Proceeding 
directly to Mr. Hull's, he showed him the letter and told him 


Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

all the circumstances about it. The two contestants shook 
hands, dropped the suit, and ever afterwards were fast friends. 

Before the great temperance revival, started by such leaders 
as Dr. Beecher, and promoted by such reformers as Gough, 
a wave of intemperance had engulfed New England and other 
states. Sandisfield did not escape the evils of this terrible 
vice. The town produced large quantities of apples; and every 
section was supplied with a distillery. At one time there were 
thirteen distilleries in the town. Rum and other liquors were 
sold at the hotels and stores. Lieut. Gov. Hull, in 1854, thus 
wrote : " The whole range of our customers, including the 
aged minister, indulged liberally in the rations of strong drink, 
customary in the camp, where the elders at least had served. 
And it has always been a special subject of wonder to me, that 
the whole generation did not settle into confirmed topers; but 
though hard and constant drinkers, many escaped. But the 
liquor bill in every account bore a large proportion of the 
whole. How glorious the change ! " The aged minister re- 
fered to, was the the Rev. Levi White, who was in the habit 
of purchasing his liquor by the quart. 

But the half century from 1790 to 1840, that might be 
called the rum period, was the time of Sandistield's greatest 
prosperity. As to population, wealth, business, the possession 
of able and influential men, revivals of religion and church 
prosperity, the town was at its height. The explanation of this 
paradox, I leave to the philosopher. It should be noticed how- 
ever, that this prosperity was not the result of intemperance, 
but existed in spite of it. " Where the Lord builds a church, 
the devil builds a chapel.'' Total abstinence would have 
added greatly to the prosperity of the people in every respect. 
According to Lieut. Gov. Hull, intemperance was a curse to 
the people; and the temperance reformation, though imperfect, 
he declared a glorious change. It is the testimony of the oldest 
inhabitants, that in those times many were constant drinkers, 
that seldom, or never became intoxicated. And if a church 
member became intoxicated, he was disciplined. 

The first inhabitants established the common district school, 
and a high school that w r as sustained for a while. But within 

Sandisfield: Its pant' and Present. 77 

the memory of the oldest inhabitants, the only school in the 
town, has been the district school, except an occasional select 
school ; and it has been customary for those students who 
wished to obtain a liberal education or go beyond the district 
school, to attend some high school or academy out of town. 
In 1808 or 10, a library association was organized. This 
association procured a library for public use. This library con- 
tained 350 volumes, all of which were solid works, — history, 
biography, theology, science, travels, etc. There was another 
library of the same size at New Boston. These libraries were 
extensively read ; and when they were opened, the people came 
from all parts of the town to exchange books. They lasted 
about forty years. 

The first church, Congregational, was organized Feb. 24th, 
175(3. The next year a church edifice was erected, that lasted 
until 1796, when it gave way to the second edifice. This 
building was large, and literally founded upon a rock in the 
middle of the wide street. The third and present editice was 
erected in 1852. 

The Baptists organized a church Aug. 21st, 1779. The 
church editice was built in 1802, situated in the northwestern part 
of the town. They organized the second church April 25th, 
1788; the church edifice being near the town line in West 
Otis. About sixty years ago the two churches were united at 

Rev. Cornelius Jones was installed as the first pastor of the 
Centre church, at the time the church was organized. Presi- 
dent Edwards was the moderator of the council and preached 
the sermon. Mr. Jones' pastorate was very short, and he was 
followed by different supplies until 17G6, when Rev. Eleazer 
Stores was installed. Mr. Stores was an able man and a suc- 
cessful pastor. But on account of his sympathy with the 
Shay's rebellion, he was forced from his pastorate in 1797. He 
continued to live in Sandisfield, where he died and was buried. 
The Rev. Levi White was pastor from June 2Sth, 1798, to 
March 1st, 1832. He was dignified and gentlemanly in 
manner, an able preacher and a devoted Christian. During 
his pastorate there were repeated seasons of revival interest. 

78 Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

In 1815-16 there was a revival of great power, in which 200 
or more were converted, 140 joining the Congregational church 
and others the Baptist. In 1821) Mr. White wrote a brief 
history of Sandisfield for Field's history of Berkshire County. 
At this time his church contained over 200 members. Jle was 
settled for life, but when old and patriarchal in appearance, a 
faction in the church turned against him. The final result was that 
he was bought off for $766.00 and a subscription of $300.00, 
and his salary of $400.00 for the last year was also paid. 

Pev. P. T. Holley was pastor from the fall of 1832 to 1851. 
Mr. Holley was a scholarly man. lie prepared and published an 
excellent concordance, copies of which are now in existence, 
lie was a spiritual man, filled with the evangelical spirit. Mrs. 
Holley was a woman of remarkable ability and an excellent 
singer. It was a remark sometimes made, that she was the 
abler of the two, and wrote her husband's sermons. Mr. Holley 
was capable of preparing his own sermons, but no doubt his 
wife was a great help to him in his work. During this pastorate 
unity and harmony prevailed, and the church was in a high 
spiritual condition. There were special seasons of revival, and 
members were added to the church every year. In the fall of 
1883 Mr. Holley came to Sandisfield and was given a warm 
reception in the church by the people of the town. A few 
months after this he died. 

The next pastor was the Rev. Aaron Pickett, a native of the 
town. He was settled Jan. 23d, 1851, and died Jan. 10th, 1866. 
He was an able man, an excellent preacher, and thoroughly 
orthodox in theology. His wit and sarcasm occasionally ap- 
peared in his sermons against the foibles of the people and 
unorthodox creeds. He was noted for his genial spirit and 
social qualities. When he was in any gathering of the people 
he was in the habit of shaking hands with every body as often 
as he met them. When he shook hands with any one and was 
reminded that he had shaken hands before with the same, he 
would say : " I want to shake hands every time I come around." 
When he happened to call on a family about meal time, he 
would say : " Now don't make any fuss for me ; but put two 
or three more potatoes into the pot." He was a pastor greatly 

Sandisfield : Its Past and Present. 79 

beloved; and is held by all who knew him in sweet remem- 
brance. During his pastorate 12(5 were added to the church. 

Thus it appears that the Centre church had only four pastors 
from 1766 to 1866, except the short eandidating periods. 

The first pastor of the 1st Baptist church was Rev. Joshua 
Morse. He was settled October 2d, 1770, and dismissed July 
26th, 1795. During his pastorate 101 members united with 
the church. Rev. Jesse Ilartwell was pastor from 1800 to 
1827, during which time 177 members united with the church. 
The first pastor of the 2d church was Rev. Benj. Baldwin. He 
was pastor from June 9th, 1790, to July 24th, IS 10, during 
which time 211 members joined the church. From this time 
to 1816, the pulpit was supplied by Revs. John Hastings and 
Asa Talmadgc. June 19th, 1817, Rev. Israel Keach was 
settled, during whose pastorate the church was brought up to a 
membership of 200. Mr. Keach was followed for 4 or 5 years 
by Rev. Erastus Doty. In 1829 the two churches united in the 
pastorate of Rev. Henry C. Skimner. During his successor 
Rev. John Wilder, the two churches were consolidated, their 
church edifice being situated in Montville. From this time to 
1863 the following pastors served the church : Revs. James 
Squire, John Bigby, J. Torry Smith, Thomas G. Wright, J. 
L. Barlow, J. T. Jones and J. V. Lintel. These churches shared 
in the great and frequent revivals that swept through the 

In 1837 the Episcopals organized a church at New Boston ; 
and in 1840 erected a church building. They supported preach- 
ing for only a short time, possibly five years. The church 
building now stands, having been moved a short distance, and 
is now used in the basement for a shop and in the upper room 
for a hall. 

At times the Methodists and Advents held services at South 
Sandisfield. But for several years there has been only an 
occasional service there. 

Up to 25 or 30 years ago the Congregational and Baptist 
churches were flourishing. They had, as a rule, able and de- 
voted pastors, and repeated seasons of revival interest. Their 
audiences on the Sabbath filled the churches. Their discipline 

80 Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

was strict. There was no lack of able and reliable men to 
manage church and society ail'airs ; nor was there any difficulty 
in raising the pastors' salaries. The people came to church 
from all parts of the town in long processions, never minding 
the distances ; though some came 5, 6, and even 7 miles. 


These churches with a few individual exceptions, 
always been true to Puritanic principles, and never have been 
seriously effected by any so called liberal movement. Still 
there have been individuals of all creeds in the town. In 1853 
the Spiritualists obtained a strong hold, numbering about 100 
persons, with others inclined that way. They were accustomed 
to hold frequent meetings, led by outside or home talent. 
These meetings were largely attended, many coming from ad- 
joining towns. In J 876 they formed an organization. This 
movement embraced many leading citizens and families. 

Sandisfield has furnished for business and the learned pro- 
fessions many prominent men. The most noticeable are the 
Rev. Barnes Sears, D. D., L. L. D. ; Rev. Edmond II. Sears, 
D. D. ; Jonathan Cowdery, an eminent surgeon in the United 
States navy ; John Mills, lawyer, State Senator, and candidate 
for the United States Senate ; Rev. Edward G. Sears, editor ; 
lion. Erastus D. Beach, for several years democratic candidate 
for governor of Massachusetts ; Gen. Dwight May, lawyer, and 
Lieutenant Governor of Michigan ; Giles Spring, Judge of 
Supreme court of Illinois. The late Hon. Elizer Smith of Lee, 
was born in Sandisfield. Mr. Smith went into business and 
failed. But he afterwards was prosperous, gained a large 
fortune, and paid all his old debts, principal and interest. He 
instructed the counsel of his company to be honest and not 
claim any thing that did not belong to them. It is possible 
for a business man and a politician to be a Christian. Mr. O. 
D. Case, of Hartford, Ct., whose shop for manufacturing 
patent school desks is in Sandisfield, is a native of this town. 
The most distinguished soldier of the Revolutionary war from 
Berkshire County, was Col. John Brown. Col. Brown was 
from Sandisfield, but he could not have been born here in 
174-4, as it is asserted in his biographies, for the first settlers 
did not arrive until 1750. Col. Brown married a daughter 

Sandisjield : Its Past and Present. 81 

of Elisha Kilbourne ; and a sister of his was the mother-in-law 
of Lieut. Gov. Hull. Epbraim Judson from Sheffield, Daniel 
B. Curtis from Granville, Benjamen Sheldon from New Marl- 
boro, and Thomas Twining from Granville, now Tolland, all 
graduates of Williams college, practiced law in Sandisfield. 
Rev. Daniel C. Adams, Rev. Wm. C. White and teacher Henry 
White, sons of Rev. L. White, Rev. Samuel C. Wilcox, Prof. 
John F. Allen, and Judge Wm. P. Strickland, all graduates of 
Williams college, were born in Sandisfield. Other natives of 
the town were Rev. Aaron Pickett, an able and beloved 
pastor ; J. Milton Sears and Geo. A. Shepard, two of Sandis- 
field's most useful and respected citizens ; Lieut. Burton D. 
Deming, a gallant Union soldier of the civil war; Edwin 0. 
Burt and Edward D. Burt, large shoe manufacturers of New 
York, and dealers in the same. Hon. Orlo Burt, born in 
Tolland, spent most of his life in Sandisfield. He was a tanner. 
He was twice elected to the State Senate, and twice to the 
House of Representatives. He was the first revenue assessor 
of the 10th Massachusetts District during the Civil war. Josiah 
Wolcott was a General of the militia and prominent in town 
affairs. Elisha Kilbourne was married in Weathersfield, Ct, to 
Sarah Robbins, June 7th, 1748. He died in Sandisfield Febru- 
ary, 23d, 1813, aged 89. Five sons of Elisha Kilbourne enlisted 
in the Continental army, went through the Revolutionary war, 
and all came home to Sandisfield alive. 


The first settlers of New England landed on the Atlantic 
shore with their faces turned westward. Before leaving the 
old country they had taken the " Western Fever," another 
name for a divine impulse, executing a divine decree, that the 
best blood of the old world should be the basis of the civiliza- 
tion of the new. No sooner had emigration reached the New 
England shore, than it began to flow westward. At first the 
west was the Connecticut river ; then the hill country of West- 
ern Massachusetts and Connecticut ; then New York state ; 
then the Western Reserve, and finally the regions beyond. 
This movement greatly effected Sandisfield. For nearly a 


Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

hundred years these streams of emigration have been drain- 
ing Sandisfield of its population, the emigrants consist- 
ing mostly of the cream. One stream has been flow- 
ing westward. Individuals and families went to Fork 
State, and the Western Reserve. To the latter region 
several families went in a hody and settled in the 
same locality. Others have scattered over the entire west. 
The second stream has been flowing into the cities and large 
places of the east, where business has been concentrating and 
larger opportunities for gaining wealth and high positions 
exist. Scores and hundreds of enterprising men and women 
of all ages, have gone to such places as Springfield, Hartford, 
New Haven and Bridgeport. The third stream, consisting of 
educated men and women, has scattered everywhere, into all 
the learned professions. These streams of the town's best 
blood were flowing out during the years of its greatest pros- 
perity, but did not very seriously effect the number and 
character of the inhabitants until about 1855 or I860. From 
1800 to 18G0 the censuses were as follows: In 1800, 1857; 
in 1810, 1795; in 1820, 1646; in 1880, 1055 ; in 1810, 1401 ; 
in 1850, 1649 ; in 1855, 1015 ; in 1800, 1585. From 1820 to 
1855 the loss was only 31 ; and from 1SO0 to i860 only 272. 
In 1860 the census was the eleventh largest in the county. 
This slight loss in population after such a long and constant- 
ilow of emigration can be accounted for, in part, from the fact 
that families moved into town from neighboring towns, and 
principally from the fact that the town was noted for its large 
families of children. Six and eight were common numbers 
for a family of children ; and in some families there were as 
many as ten or twelve, and even fifteen. One doctrine in the 
Puritan creed was that the Lord's command to our first parents, 
"Be fruitful, and multiply and replenish the earth, and subdue 
it," was intended to apply to the Jtujhcst classes of civilization, 
as well as to the lowest. The obeying of this law by our fathers 
lias-rendered inestimable service to our country in building 
new states on solid foundations; but that this law be obeyed 
now is just as important, in order that these states may be 
saved. Before 1860 certain of the old industries had dis- 

Sandisfield: Its Past and Present. 83 

appeared. The silk mill, the woolen mill and three of the 
tanneries disappeared. Nevertheless, at tin's time, production 
and trade were flourishing. The churches were strong and 
prosperous. And the town was well supplied with able men 
and noble families. But since 1800 Sandisfield's decline has 
been precipitate. The process of skimming the cream has gone 
on with continually increasing thoroughness. 

The town is in the centre of a parallelogram, formed by four 
rail roads, — the Boston & Albany on the north, the ITousatonic 
on the west, the Connecticut Western on the south, and the 
Northampton & New Haven on the east. Its centre is fifteen 
miles from Great Barrington ; fifteen from Winsted, Ct., six- 
teen from Lee, and twenty-four from Westfield. This great 
distance from rail roads and large places has worked to the 
town's disadvantage, especially in drawing away manufacturing, 
and through that, laborers and trade. The farmers also lack a 
good home market for their produce. And it is hard to induce 
outsiders to move in. Western competition and the general 
depression in agriculture, and all those causes that have so 
generally effected the New England farmer for ill, and tended 
to draw business and population into large cities, have operated, 
seriously in Sandisfield. Another cause of Sandisfield's decline 
was the bonding of the town to pay for stock in the projected 
Lee & New Haven rail road. The town agreed to take 
$40,000 of stock, and to bond the town for that amount. 
The bonds were to be issued as fast as the road was being built. 
The bonding commenced in 1 872. After $24,000 of stock had 
actually been paid for, by the issuing of bonds to that amount, 
two thousand dollars in addition being spent for contingent 
expenses, work on the road ceased, through the failure of the 
state in fulfilling its contract in subsidizing the road, the bill 
for the last instalment of state aid having been vetoed by the 
governor. The result was that the town was left without any 
rail road, .but with a bonded debt of $24,000 at 7 per cent., 
due semi-annually. This tax, with its heavy war taxes, was 
more than the town could stagger under. It created a sort of 
a panic. To pay their taxes, many were obliged to sell their 
hay, cut off their wood and timber, and resort to every possible 

84 Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

expedient to raise the money. Rather than to suffer this burden 
long, many sold their farms and stampeded out of town. From 
1870 to 1875 the town lost 310 inhabitants. This bonded debt 
lasted ten years, and then was reimbursed by the state. When 
the bonds were paid up and returned to the town, they were 
committed to the flames in open town meeting with great re- 
joicing and applause. The censuses from i860 were as follows: 
In 1865, 1411; in 1870, 1482; in 1875, 1172; in 1880, 1107; 
in 1885, 1019; in 1890, 807. 

These causes of Sandisfield's decline have been working 
so long, and become so effectual in drawing away the inhabi- 
tants and business, and reducing the value of all the insti- 
tutions, that the people for a long time have been greatly 
depressed as to the town's future prospects. This depression 
has produced a general desire on the part of the people remain- 
ing, to go elsewhere; and many who will spend their days in 
their native town, would have moved away ere this could they 
have disposed of their property advantageously. 


The present condition of Sandisfield is what is left after 
more than seventy-five years of skimming the cream. The 
census of 1890 was 1,050 less than what it was in 1800, when 
the town was at its height of population. Other towns in 
Western Massachusetts have lost more inhabitants than Sandis- 
field. But the majority of these have ceded territory to other 
towns since they were at the height of their population, while 
Sandisfield has annexed one-third of her's. Taking these facts 
into consideration, it is reasonably certain that the original 
territory of Sandisfield has met with a greater net loss of in- 
habitants than the original territory of any other town in the 
four western counties of Massachusetts, with only one possible 
exception. The Berkshire towns standing with Sandisfield in 
regard to loss of population, are Peru, New Marlboro, Becket 
and Lanesboro. Sheffield has lost nearly 30 per cent, since 

Sandisfield's valuation in 1887 was $397,922. Since then 
the valuation has grown less and less every year, at an average 

Sandisfield: Its past and Present. 85 

rate of over $8,500, being in 1893 $346,848. Its rank of pop- 
ulation among Berkshire towns at the various censuses, has 
been as follows: In 1765, the tenth; then the sixth; the 
sixth; the fourth in 1800; the fifth ; the seventh ; the eighth; 
the tenth; the tenth; the tenth ; the eleventh; the thirteenth ; 
the thirteenth; the sixteenth ; the eighteenth ; the sixteenth ; 
the nineteenth in 1890, there being thirty-two towns in the 
county at the present time. 

This loss of population and valuation does not cover the 
whole ground of loss. The town's greatest loss is that of 
intellectual talent, energy, business capacity, influential men, 
moral and religious influence. 

Within the last twenty-five years the town has lost Lieut. 
Gov. Hull, J. Milton Sears, Geo. A. Shepard and others, leaders 
in church or political affairs. The general tendency has been 
for the most promising youth and the most desirable families 
to go away. During the past ten years many valuable citizens 
in, and out of the churches, have died. In the town meetings, 
in business, in the churches and ecclesiastical societies, in every 
form or organization society takes, the loss of leaders and in- 
fluential persons is clearly seen and seriously felt, 

It is not to be inferred that there is no cream left, for there 
is. There are still in the town worthy men, excellent families 
and promising youth. But these elements of the town's former 
prosperity have been greatly reduced and weakened. 

This loss of population has had a corresponding effect upon 
the condition of agriculture. The census of 18S5 gives the 
number of unoccupied dwellings in the town as 36, which is 
13 per cent, of the whole number. From 1885 to 1890 the 
town lost 212 inhabitants, and the number is less now than in 
1890. Consequently the number of unoccupied dwellings can- 
not be any less than in 1885, and they appear to be more 
numerous than then. 

Old cellar holes are scattered all over the town, and are 
especially numerous in and about the Centre parish. Most of 
these unoccupied dwellings and cellar holes belong to farms. 
These abandoned farms are owned in part by non-residents, and 
a part are owned by those who live in town. Most of these 


J3e7'ki>'hire Historical and Scientific Society. 

farms are pastured and mowed with little or no cultivation or 
manuring. There are good farmers in Sandislield, and a few 
farms are well cultivated and produce good crops. But most 
farmers possess more land than they can, or do thoroughly 
cultivate. Consequently much tillage and pasture hind is 
growing up to brush or timber and going back to its primeval 
condition. Hundreds of acres have already grown up to hard- 
hacks and are nearly worthless. This state of things is most 
visible between Montville and the New Marlboro line. The 
price of real estate is very low. But little grain is raised in 
the town, but much is bought every year. Farmers buy it to 
feed their teams and cows. Outside of the dairy business the 
agricultural products are inconsequential. Many of the maple 
orchards have been cut down. These and much other wood 
have been sold to the Baruum & Richardson Company, who 
have converted it into coal and carried it to their iron mines 
in Connecticut. It does not appear that the soil is exhausted 
to a fatal degree. Alders and hardbacks do not grow so 
thriftily on poor land. Much of the soil is still rich and deep, 
but its deteriorated condition is mainly due to a lack of culti- 
vation. The loss of nearly 60 per cent, of the inhabitants 
accounts very largely for the present condition of the farms. 

As the soil is especially adapted to grass, dairy products are 
the most abundant and profitable. In the spring of 1887 a 
creamery association was incorporated that immediately put a 
creamery into active operation. This creamery has been a 
success. It relieves the farmers' wives of the burden of making 
butter, encourages cleanliness in producing cream, enables those 
who were poor butter makers under the old system to get the 
same price for their butter as all the other patrons, and cheers 
the patrons every month with cash in hand for their butter. 
The patrons number fifty-five, about one-quarter of whom live 
in Tolland or Colebrook, Ct. In 1892, 96,000 pounds of butter 
were made. This year, 1893, the product is from 6,000 to 
10,000 pounds per month. Henry M. Wilcox is president. 

In 1892 an agricultural society was organized and a Fair held 
at New Boston. A little stock was exhibited and a large num- 
ber of people came together to see what it all meant. This 

Sandisfield : Its Past and Present. S7 

year, 1893, a Fair was held September 21st, at New Boston. 
There were fifty-two yokes of excellent oxen on exhibition and 
some other stock. The ladies' department of fancy work was 
a surprising success. Exercises were held in the church, where 
Dea. Bidwell of Monterey delivered an address. Hundreds 
of people from Sandisfield and adjoining towns were present 
at the Fair. Henry M. Wilcox was president. 

From the chairman of the board of assessors I get the follow- 
ing statement : 

" Decline in valuation for 1893 : Ileal estate, $1,782 ; personal property* 
$5,810 ; total $7,592. 

Stock Listed 1892. 1893. 

Number of horses, 248 253 

" cows, 790 761 

" sheep, 258 201 

Neat cattle, other than cows, 417 337 

Number of swine, 70 89 

" fowls, 1,709 1,815 

" " dwelling houses, 258 

Acres of land assessed, 29,025 

Kate of taxation, $14.00 $17.50 

New bridges built this year (1893) added much to the rate." 

The report of the assessors to the Secretary of State as to 
the causes of the decline in valuation is as follows: 

"Removals West. The younger portion of the community gets into 
larger places to secure the larger and usually steady wages which manu- 
factures are enabled to pay, being better protected than farmers. 

Unequal and unjust taxation. As the law now is, a doctor, lawyer, 
bookkeeper and skilled mechanic may have an annual income of $2,000, 
and still pay nothing but a poll tax. A farmer having the same income 
from his farm, would pay at least $200. in taxes. Owners of stocks, 
bonds, Western mortgages, etc., go scott free, while the farmer is almost 
sure to be taxed for more than his property would sell for, in the hill 
towns at least." 

The assessors' books show that in 1870 the number of cows 
were 1,129; in 1871, 1,070; in 1872, 1,033; in 1881, 728; in 
1890, 839; in 1891, 817. 

At the town meeting in 1893 the town was nearly out of 
debt, considering the uncollected taxes. But the damage done 
to the bridges and roads in the spring by the ice caused the 
town to run a little into debt. 

88 Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

There are thirteen school districts and nine school houses in 
the town, five of which have patent school desks. 

I take the following from the report of the school com- 
mittee in 1893 : 

Number of schools, 9 

" persons between five and fifteen years of age. 160 

eight and fourteen years of age, 107 

" different pupils of all ages, 161 

under five years of age, 8 

" over fifteen years of age, 17 

Average membership in all the schools during the year. 120 

attendance " " << " " " << 104 

Number atending between 8 and 14, 105 

Per cent, of attendance, 87 

Number of male teachers employed, 4 

" " female " " 8 

Average wages of male teachers per month, $20.50 

'• female " " " $20.81 

Aggregate in months all the schools have been kept during the year, 

G3 months, 3 days. 

Average number of months the schools have been kept, 7 

Amount raised for schools by the town, $1,000.00 

" " repairs, 50.00 

" books, 25.00 

" " " carrying children to school, 50.00 

" state fund, 387.20 

" dog fund, 69.40 

" local fund, 77.40 

Balance of last year unexpended, 349.79 



New Boston is a village of about twenty-five families. It 
contains, also, a Congregational church, a hotel, a post-office 
and a school house. There are two stores of general merchan- 
dise, one kept -by II. M. Wilcox and the other by E. O. North- 
way. W. N. Clark makes cigars and keeps Yankee notions for 
sale, Joseph Clark & Son make boxes. There is a blacksmith 
shop and a saw mill. There is a stage and post route from 
here to Winsted, Ct., with a branch to Montville. There its 
a daily mail. Dr. E. 11. Callender is the physician. 

Rooster ville, one and one half miles below New Boston, 
contains six or eight families. Here O. D. Case & Co., of 
Hartford, make the wood work of their patent school desks. 

Sandisfeld : Its Past and Present. 80 

They employ a dozen hands and are unable to fill their orders 
promptly, as the demand for the desks is great. The lumber 
used is birch, beech and maple, which are abundant in the 
vicinit} 7 . 

Below Itoosterville Mr. E. B. Fargo has a shingle mill, con- 
nected with which is a cider mill and one run of stone for 
grinding grain. There are two other saw mills in town not 
before mentioned. 

West New Boston contains ten or twelve families, the town 
hall, the creamery, a blacksmith shop and a school house. 
There is also a mill for the distillation of essential oils. This 
mill is in operation only from November 1st to June, as the 
extract is not good after the buds begin to swell. Five hands 
are employed. Black birch trees are cut, and the brush up to 
a certain size is drawn to the mill and sold by the ton. This 
business amounts to six ($0,000) thousand dollars per year. 

Montville, 3 miles from New Boston and one from the 
Centre, contains about twenty-five dwellings, nearly all of 
which are occupied. There is also a Baptist church, a black- 
smith and repair shop, and a post-office. Mr. J. H. Mer- 
rill makes ready made clothing, employing one cutter and 
a few seamstresses, who take in sewing. Dea. E. A. Whitney 
makes rakes. 

Sandisficld Centre has suffered more than any other part of 
the town from the loss of population and business. There is 
left a Congregational church, a school house and nine dwelling 
houses. The church edifice is in good repair. The school 
contains six or eight pupils at the most. Two of the dwellings 
are being repaired. Three dwellings are owned and occupied 
in the warm weather by city gentlemen, Messrs. E. S. Atwater 
of Poughkeepsie, N. Y., A. Farrar of Chicago, 111., and John 
Doty of New York city. These families have been liberal in 
the support of preaching and in repairing the meeting house. 
Messrs. Atwater and Farrar have made a pond covering thirty- 
five acres, and situated a mile from the Centre. This pond 
is used for fishing, boating, bathing and the cutting of ice. 
On the shore the owners have built a new house and bam for 
the use of the overseer. The Kilbourne farm has been 


Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

purchased by JI. P. Hall of Boston, who is gradually im- 
proving the farm and buildings. The post-office is kept one 
mile from the church. There is a post and stage route from 
hereto Winsted, Ct., through South Sandisiield and Colebrook, 
Ct., carrying a daily mail. 

The number of families in the Centre is continually changing. 
Now there are only three permanent families. At South San- 
disfield there are a few scattering houses — and a post-office 
kept in a private family. 

All the industries and business not mentioned above have 
disappeared. The trade of the town has suffered correspond- 
ingly. Some trade comes from Tolland, but very much goes 
to Winsted, Ct., Great Barrington and Lee. 

If I mistake not, the original survey of the Boston & Albany 
R. R. was made through Sandisfield near the old Indian Trail. 
During the last few years several re-surveys have been made, 
with a view of a shorter route to Albany or the Pough- 
keepsie bridge. Rumors that this route, or the one on the 
Farmington Biver, was to be graded has often cheered the 
drooping spirits of the people, to be as often dampened. 

The present town officers are : Selectmen, Chas. A. Chimin, 
Chas. McCaffrey and F. M. Rugg ; assessors, Henry J. Veits, 
Timothy C. Ryan and Elman Strickland ; school committee, 
Chas. A. Clafflin, Lamatine A. Hawley and Henry J. Veits ; 
treasurer, J. Madison Fuller ; clerk, W. N. Clark. Chas. A. 
Clafnin is deputy sheriff. The postmasters are: Sandisiield, 
Lamatine A. Hawley; Montville, J. II. Merrill; New Boston, 
E. O. Nortliway ; South Sandisfield, Mrs. James Smith. The 
Justices of the Peace are J. Madison Fuller, Chas. K. Williams 
and II. S. Mauley. 

Mr. J. Madison Fuller was selectman twenty-two consecutive 
years, with only one year's break, lie w T as chairman of the 
board twenty years. On account of his faithful service he 
was pressed by the voters to serve longer, but he positively re- 
fused to do so. He has done a large amount of probate 

Mr. Henry M. Wilcox represented this district in the legis- 
lature twice, in the years of 1875 and 1878, He has been 

Sandisfield: Its Past and Present. 91 

selectman fifteen years. Jle lias held other town offices and 
often has been chosen moderator of the town meetings. Mr. 
Henry Deraing, a farmer and a jealous patron of the creamery, 
has been selectman several years. The selectmen for 1892-3 
were (mas. A. Claffiin, Henry Doming and B. J. Persons. 
Clias. A. ClafHin represented this district in the legislature 
in 1885. 

It would be unjust not to say a few words in this place in 
memory of the late J. Milton Sears. Mr. Sears was a brother 
of Rev. Edmond Gk Sears, D. D. Mr. Sears possessed ex- 
cellent intellectual talents and a sound Christian character. I Ie 
was an active worker in the church and a leader in town affairs. 
He held various town offices, and his influence was strong in 
the town meetings. He served one term in the legislature. 
The last time he ran for office he was defeated. When he was 
advised to throw out money to influence his election he replied 
that he had rather be defeated than to do that. He was Justice 
of the Peace for many years, and as a Justice he did an ex- 
tensive business in writing legal documents, etc. His ability, 
experience, knowledge of law, and conscientiousness, made him 
a safe man to do such business. Consequently he was a man 
of great influence, highly respected and honored by his fellow 
citizens. He was a true man. He died August 24th, 1886, 
aged 77 years. 

The loss in population and business has correspondingly 
effected the churches. About 20 years ago the question of 
organizing a new church at New Boston or of moving the old 
meeting house, on the hill, down to Montville or West New 
Boston, was agitated. One party advocated the new church 
movement; another, the moving of the old church; and a 
third party desired no change. After considerable discussion 
a new church was organized in 1874. It held services at first 
in the town hall at West New Boston. In 1879 a house of 
worship was dedicated at New Boston. This church originally 
w T as composed of members taken from the Tolland and Sandis- 
field churches, thus cutting up two small churches to make 
three smaller ones. Since the formation of this church the 
town has lost nearty, or quite 400 inhabitants, many of whom 

92 Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

were church people. The wisdom of this movement may well 
be doubted. The remark is often made that Sandisfield ought 
to have only one church, and that at Montville. In such 
matters however, there is danger that our opinions clash with 
the Lord's. It is the policy of the Massachusetts Home Mission- 
ary Society to help support only one minister in such towns, 
and to advise the union of churches of the same and different 
denominations. The three churches contain about eighty resi- 
dent members. There are from ten to twenty professing 
Christians in the town, belonging to churches in other places, or 
to none at all. There are also twelve or fourteen Catholic families. 

The Centre church holds religious services only in the six 
summer months. The average attendance at the public services 
for June, July and August of 1893 was fifty-five, and for the 
two months following, forty. The church is now supplied by 
the New Marlboro pastor. The churches at New Boston and 
Montville are now supplied by Chas. H. Couch, a licentiate, 
who is performing acceptable service. The audiences at New 
Boston average from seventy to ninety in the summer and 
about one-third less in the winter. The Montville audience is 
from forty to seventy-five in the summer, and is a little less in 
the winter. The combined salaries that the three churches and 
societies can raise per year, outside of all funds and missionary 
aid, is at the extreme $400. 

In and about Montville and New Boston,there is a generation 
of young people of various ages, still remaining in town. 
Among these young people there has been for several years 
considerable religious interest, embracing those of both the 
Congregational and Baptist families. Many have joined the 
several churches, and the interest continues. To the young 
pastor and such lay workers as Edward R Ingham and others, 
much of the present interest is due. This religious interest 
among the young people, so long continued and earnest, is a 
bright and hopeful prophecy of the future. For a long time 
it has seemed as if the churches must die completely oat, as 
most of the members were old people, fast passing away. But 
now the signs are a little more hopeful of continued life and 
increased vigor. 

Sandisfield : Its past and I > resent. 93 

The New Boston church, and the whole community as 
well, has met with a sad loss in Dea. Nelson B. Twining, 
who died September 28th, 1893. Dea. Twining was one 
of the founders and first members of the New Boston 
church, By labor, prayer and contributions, he manifested his 
great interest in its prosperity, lie was a man of sound 
Christian character, and his loss is seriously felt. The church 
need not be discouraged, for with Him, who moves in a mys- 
terious way, nothing is impossible. 

The late pastors of the churches were : Sandisfield, Revs. 
J. Dean, E. Bradbury, A. Sherman, C. B. McLean,- — —Piper, 
W. E. Foster, A. W. Field ; Montville, Revs. E. 11. Maine, 
A. E. Battelle, G. L. Ruberg, W. Crocker, F. B. Adams, C. 11. 
Kent; New Boston, Revs. E. Bradbury, C. B. McLean, M. S. 
Hartwell, A. W. Field and Hurd. 

The Spiritualists have lost considerably in numbers and lead- 
ership, but evidently they maintain their relative strength. 

Ever since the Revolutionary war, Sandisfield, has suffered 
from intemperance, and at times greatly. From way back it 
has been a license town, and is now three to one. It is an 
appletown, and large quantities of cider have been drank every 
year. This habit of cider drinking has been a terrible curse 
to the town. And many believe that this use of cider has 
been a greater curse than the use of other liquors. At the 
present time less cider is made than formerly, and the inhabi- 
tants are less in number, consequently less cider is drank. 
Among the young men now coming into active life, there is an 
improvement over the past youth, in principle and practice, in 
regard to temperance, and a few are taking a noble stand for 
the right. 

What will be the future of Sandisfield and such run-down 
New England towns I cannot prophesy. But it is prophesied 
in scripture that the old wastes shall be rebuilt. And I believe 
that the prophecy applies to Puritan New England. But how 
these towns are to be rebuilt is a hard question to answer. But 
1 venture the opinion, that if they are ever brought up to a 
high state of prosperity, being filled with a thrifty, intelligent 
and moral class of people, they must be re-settled by perma- 

94 Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

nent inhabitants, — fanners who will till the soil, pay the taxes 
and support the institutions. For eity gentlemen to buy these 
old farms and occupy them for only a short time in the sum- 
mer is a help, and good as far as it goes, but it does not go far 
enough. Alost of these towns as they lack water power, or 
rail road facilities, or handy raw material, or all of these things 
combined, cannot expect to compete in manufacturing with the 
great manufacturing centres of the country. Neither are they 
needed as manufacturing towns on any large scale. 

In preparing this history it has been the sole aim of the 
historian to tell the truth, and to tell it in such a way as to give 
a true picture of the real condition of things, however impa la- 
table some of the facts may be. That town, where he spent 
eight years of his best life, and tried to do his duty, and re- 
ceived so many tokens of regard from the people, has his 
prayers and best wishes for its future prosperity and salvation. 

As to Sandisfield, nature has done her part. As yet, the soil 
is not seriously exhausted. The water power is abundant. Its 
scenery is charming. The atmosphere is salubrious. From 
the hill sides there gush out streams of sweet pure water. And 
the town lies on two distinct lines of rail road surveys, that 
would have been graded long ago had it not been for the in- 
fluence of conflicting interests. 

" Come, gentle Hope ! with one gay smile remove 
The lasting sadness of an achin<>; heart." 


Mr. Geo. A. Shepard was born in Sandisfield December 23d, 
1820. In youth his advantages for education were limited to 
the common schools. His means did not allow him to go to 
college. But possessing excellent intellectual talents, and being 
naturally a scholar, he did not become a victim of his disad- 
vantages. His taste for study and ambition to acquire knowl- 
edge made him a hard student all his life. He was a great 
reader, and was especially fond of historical and scientific 
works. His close application to study and retentive memory 
enabled him to acquire a large fund of knowledge. He was 

Sandisfield: Its Past and Present. 95 

well versed in the current thought of the times, especially in 
that of science and politics. 

Mr. Shepard was a ready and fluent speaker, never lacking 
thought or words to express it. lie was frequently invited to 
make addresses on various occasions, and he made it a point to 
except all such invitations. lie was occasionally called to make 
addresses or deliver lectures in other towns, and for many 
years he was Sand isfi eld's ready and acceptable speaker. 

He was also a poet of no mean ability. On social and other 
occasions, he was often called out to read a poem, without 
which the exercises seemed incomplete. While the metre and 
the rhyme may have been somewhat arbitrary, yet the wit and 
sentiment of his poems always held close attention and received 
applause. Whether in prose or poetry, he was equally interest- 
ing on a great variety of topics, mingling wit and anecdote 
with unadorned facts. 

His pen was as ready as his speech. For many years he was 
a newspaper correspondent, contributing to as many as six 
papers at one time. His reports of topics of general interest 
were eagerly read by the people. In Smith's history of Berk- 
shire County the articles on Sandisfield and Otis were written 
by him. 

For nearly forty years Mr. Shepard held town and other 
offices. For several years he was at the same time — school 
committee, assessor, town clerk, justice of the peace and 
trial justice. He was school committee thirty-six years ; as- 
sessor and town clerk seventeen each ; trial justice fourteen ; 
and justice of the peace twenty-eight. lie ran as a candidate 
for repsesentative to the legislature four times, and was elected 
twice, in 1881 and 1888. The last time he was in the legis- 
lature he served on the committee on education. It was largely 
through his influence that the Westfield Normal school was not 
moved to Springfield and recived appropriations for its new 
building lately completed. For these services Westfield gave 
him a dinner to his honor. During this session of 1889 he was 
called upon to make a speech on women's rights without 
previous notice, to fill a vacancy caused by the absence of a 
previously appointed speaker. Whether anticipating speaking 


Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

or not, lie was ready and made a speech that was very highly 

He was chosen sole agent of Sandisfield to go before the 
legislature, asking the state to reimburse the town in the matter 

of town bonds. As a school teacher, he taught twenty-live 
terms of the public school and nine terms of select school. 
As a justice of the peace, he wrote hundreds of legal papers, 
such as wills, deeds, etc. Only one will he wrote was con- 
tested, and that was sustained. His legible hand writing, 
knowledge of law, sound judgment and long experience, made 
him a very competent person to write legal papers. 

In politics Mr. Shepard was a republican from the beginning- 
He was firm in his convictions, having made political questions 
a constant study. As an aspirant for office, he possessed his 
share of shrewdness and diplomacy, and was cautious about 
expressing his opinions too freely when not called to do so, and 
about taking sides with one or another of party factions. But 
he did not carry this trait of character so far as to deny his 
party principles or to stifle his convictions, or to wabble from 
one side of a question to another, or to stoop to mean and 
questionable methods to gain his ends. He was a successful 
politician, without choosing the policy that the end justifies 
the means. 

Mr. Shepard was a farmer by profession, but followed other 
pursuits temporarily, as clerking, butchering, teaching, and 
serving in various offices. As a business man, he did not ac- 
cumulate much wealth. It is uncertain what he would have 
accumulated had he chosen wealth as his god. But his tastes 
and ambition flowed in other directions. To read, write, study 
and occupy positions of trust, was his life. If die neglected too 
much his personal affairs, it was to serve his fellow citizens and 
consecrate himself to their welfare. 

One of Mr. Shepard's characteristics was his patriotism. He 
was a great admirer of free institutions ; entertained high 
views of his country's possible greatness and power. In all 
things pertaining to American institutions and the prospective 
glory of our country, he was an optimist and an enthusiast. 
He neglected no opportunity to express his patriotism on all 


Sandisfield: Its Past and Present. 97 

suitable occasions, and to urge his fellow citizens to exercise 
patriotic affections. His patriotism with his optimistic tend- 
ency, extended down to 4 his native town. When writing or 
speaking about Sandisfield, he always pleaded her cause, and 
was loth to admit what others readily confessed. 

No man ever lived in Sandisfield who took greater interest 
in all public affairs than Mr. Shepard. He was interested in 
every thing that related to the town's welfare, and he was ever 
ready by word, pen or hand to serve her interests. In the 
causes of education, agriculture, trade, literary organizations, 
and social advancement; on fourth of July, Decoration day, 
and other days of public gathering ; in all public enterprises 
with him it was,— fellow citizens, come on ! In all such 
things he was the acknowledged leader, — considering his own 
interests inseparable from the town's. 

As a companion and a society man, Mr. Shepard was affable 
in manners, agreeable and witty in conversation, and entertain- 
ing. In this position, party differences and theological preju- 
dices were laid aside, while he surrendered himself to social 
enjoyment. He was a true and sincere friend and agreeable 
companion. He rarely suffered from enemies. 

lie was inclined to believe what are called liberal views in 
theology, and he never made a public profession of religion. 
But he was a man of strict morals and integrity ; went to 
church ; liked a good sermon ; condemned meanness and was 
disgusted with vice. Down deep in his soul there was always 
a tender spot, easily reached by the right means. On his death 
bed he confessed Christian principles and hope. 

In substance, Mr. Shepard was by his ability, culture and 
integrity, a very useful man, whose life has not been unap- 
preciated nor unhonored by his fellow citizens. In all social 
positions, in town meetings, in political counsels, in town and 
other offices, he was a strong personality. It was not outward 
helps and favorable opportunities that gave him his develop- 
ment, influence and useful service, but his native ability, tastes, 
ambition, perseverance and public spirit. He was a fine 
specimen of a self-made man, and as such, an example worthy 


Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

of imitation. Jfe (lied April 18th, 1893, greatly lamented by 
all who knew him. 


Among the first settlers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony 
were five brothers by the name of Hull. They were all men 
of ability, and served the Colony in the legislature. Capt. 
John Hull, one of the five brothers, was the mintmaster who 
coined the famous pine tree shilling. 

Richard Hull, another of the brothers, came to Connecticut 
and settled near New Haven. In Durby, near New Haven, 
was born, March 9th, 1775, Commodore Isaac Hull. In this 
vicinity, in what was then Wallingford, was born Eliakim Hull, 
a direct descendant of Richard and relative of the Com- 
modore. Eliakim Hull moved to Farmington, Ct., and from 
there, in 1800, to Sandisfield. 

As soon as Mr. Hull settled in Sandisfield he assumed the 
position of a leader in town affairs. He was large, athletic 
and handsome, and made a splendid appearance on horse back. 
In 1800 he established a store. He was a prime mover in the 
organization of the library association. He was a Justice of 
the Peace, and did a large business in that office. He was 
well versed in law, and was well known in Southern Berkshire 
as a man of ability and influence, lie represented the town 
in the legislature several years, as long as he would take the 
office, lie was. nominated and elected without any necessary 
agency on his part, except to accept the office. 

George Hull, son of Eliakim, and the subject of this history, 
was born in Farmington, Ct., January 8th, 1788, and was 
therefore twelve years old when the family moved to Sandis- 
field. At Farmington, George was sent to the district school, 
and, according to his own statement, he was sent somewhat 
against his will. In this school he made creditable progress in 
the ordinary branches. After moving to Sandisfield he never 
went to school, except to himself and his surrounding 

Sandisfield: Its past and Present. 99 

As soon as his father had established his store, George being 

only twelve years old, was taken in as a clerk. The young 
clerk had a taste for hunting and fishing, but he was kept so 
elosely eonfined to his clerkship that he seldom got a day off. 
In those days the majority of the customers were veterans of 
the Revolutionary war. As many of them spent much of their 
time idling at the store, they greatly amused the clerk by 
reciting their adventures and experiences in the army. At the 
age of twenty-one George was taken into co-partnership with 
his father, and immediately became the real manager of the 
business, lie went to New York to buy goods, going down 
the Hudson river on a boat. After his father's death lie con- 
tinued the business at the same stand until 1802. As described 
in another place, this was a famous store, on account of the 
great variety of articles kept for sale ; its extensive trade ; 
long continuance ; and the fact that it contained the post-office, 
the library, and for many years before the great temperance 
revival, plenty of spirituous liquors. To all this may be added 
the facts that its owner was an able business man, a leader in 
town affairs, and an influential politician. 

Mr. Hull was also a farmer. He owned considerable land 
in and near the Centre, which he brought to a high state of 
cultivation.. The swamp near his store that his father under- 
took to reclaim, he changed into a smooth, rich meadow, that 
today, attracts the notice of travellers. It was not his custom 
to work on the farm himself, except to oversee the work and 
manage the business part. On going to the farm it was his 
custom to ride on horseback. Mr. Hull was also a banker. He 
was the first president of the Lee bank, and as a private banker 
he did a large business. If a widow or any one else had a little 
money to invest, he would take it. He also went into the tan- 
ning business, that grew into large proportions. As the result 
of all these businesses that he managed with great ability and 
industry, when he was able to give his attention to business, he 
acquired a comfortable fortune for the times. When he spent 
his time in Boston, he hired clerks to manage his business at 
home. And when his sons became of suitable age, he took 
them into business with him. 

100 Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

While a young man Mr. Hull was called to serve the town 
in various offices. ITe was town clerk and school committee, 
and as moderator of the town meetings presided with great 
dignity and dispatch, lie was postmaster from 1811 to 1802. 
His higher political service I will let him describe in his own 
language. In a brief autobiography which he wrote in 1854, 
he says : " After serving in various town offices, it was the 
will of a party to elect me representative to the Great and 
General Court (in 1821.) It was much of an undertaking at that 
time to go to Boston. liepresentatives had most commonly 
made the journey on horseback, but I ventured to drive a 
chaise. And every thing being new to me at the east, I en- 
joyed the employment much and made some very valuable 
acquaintances. In the years 1823 and 1821 I was nominated 
and elected to the senate of the state. As it was the fashion 
of that day through the state generally to elect gray headed 
men of mature years and reputed wisdom, 1 found myself the 
youngest of the forty senators. Being conscious of my de- 
ficiencies of education and accomplishments, I felt considerable 
diffidence, but before the session was over I managed to recover 
some degree of confidence from having discovered that through 
accident and party connivance, several senators had been sent 
to the senate as ignorant and destitute of polish as myself, and 
with views quite as crude. After my two terms in the senate 
had expired, I returned home without any expectation of 
further experience in such official stations, and applied myself 
to my business for a support to my growing family. But the 
party with whom I sympathized and aided, again called on me 
to represent them in the house of representatives (in 1826), and 
I spent another term in Boston, being my last as I then sup- 
posed. But in 1830 a summons from the secretary of state 
called on me to proceed to Boston and qualify to take my seat 
in the Governor's Council — Gov. Lincoln's Council. Who could 
refuse such an honor? I arranged my business at some incon- 
venience and hurried off. After performing these services as 
councillor for the usual space of time and recovering old 
acquaintances and friendships, I bid adieu, as I supposed, for 
the last time to public service, and gave my attention to my 

Sandisfield: Its Past and Present. 101 

neglected business. But it had been decreed that my presence 
at Huston in another capacity in the year 1835 might subserve 
the views of the party or its managers, and they presented my 
name with that of Edward Everett to the public for the two 
highest offices, Governor and Lieut. Governor. This ticket 
having succeeded the party managers still kept me in nomi- 
nation from year to year, and I then served with Everett, 
Marcus Morton and John Davis, seven years in all, and until 1 
was heartily tired of such service and glad to return to the en- 
joyment of home and domestic quiet." 

Lieut. Gov. Hull ran for congress in 1826, but was defeated. 
There were three candidates, and I infer there was no election, 
for an election to fill a vacancy was held in the following March. 
For Congressman he carried Sandisfield by twenty majority. 
Lieut. Gov. Hull ran eight consecutive years for Lieut. Gover- 
nor, and was elected every year except the last. Since the 
formation of the state constitution only two Lieut. Governors 
have served in office a longer time than he; two others served 
the same length of time. 

Lieut. Gov. Hull was at first a Republican, or anti-Federalist, 
the same as his father, but when the Republican and Federal 
parties broke up and the Democratic and Whig parties were 
formed, the father became a Jacksonian Democract, and the son 
a Whig and finally a Republican. He was not an office 
seeker, in the sense that he was a party manager, or ran a 
political machine for selfish purposes ; or sought office through 
questionable means. The office sought him, and he was nomi- 
nated on the ground of his merits. And yet he was not desti- 
tute of political ambition. He was in correspondence with the 
party managers, and wrote political articles for the newspapers. 
While he was happy in his domestic relations and his extensive 
business needed his personal attention, so that he excepted 
office with reluctance, yet party pressure was so strong, and the 
honors of office, and the pleasure of living in Boston, where 
he associated with so many distinguished men, were so great, 
that he was willing to make the needed sacrifice. 

In office, he was held in great esteem and consideration by 
his political associates. His advice and opinions were sought 

102 Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

after, and in every position which he held he had a commanding 
influence; not the influence of party management or campaign 
speaking, for he was not a public speaker, but the influence of 
common sense, sound judgment, extensive knowledge and 
strict integrity. 

In recommending candidates for appointment to office he 
based his recommendations solely on merit, and would not 
recommend his best personal friends if he did not consider 
them suitable persons for the offices they sought. He was 
known to refuse such recommendations at the expense of 
loosing friendships. When we consider that he recommended 
candidates for appointment to office solely on the ground of 
merit, and that he received his own political nominations on 
the same ground, his portrait ought to be hung in every legis- 
lative hall, and his life read by all office seekers. Nay, more! 
When we consider the prevalence of boss rule and political 
intrigue, the people, who are the most to blame in this matter, 
ought to be converted, and in their sovereign might demand the 
enforcement of sound civil service principles. 

Lieut. Gov. Hull was endowed by nature with superior 
intellectual talents. But he was emphatically a self-made man, 
not having attended school after he was twelve years old. He 
was a hard student all his life, and his own teacher. While a 
clerk in his father's store, he acquired the habit of reading, 
that grew into a strong passion. In this way he improved his 
spare time. He read every book in the library that was kept 
in his store, and every thing else he could reach, — history, 
biography, travels, divinity, poetry, science, voyages, etc. 
When there was a new supply of new books he would sit up 
nearly all night to read them, in order, as he said, " to secure 
the treasurers of the books before they were distributed among 
the people." lie was fond of reading translations of the 
classics. And he was so familiar with geography that he could 
tell the names and positions of the most insignificant places on 
the maps, lie possessed a great memory and took extensive 
notes of what he read, so that he acquired a large fund of 
knowledge, and was thoroughly versed on the current topics of 
the times. He was a busy and hard working business man and 

Sandisfield: Its Past and Present. 103 

office holder, and yet, in this pressure of business and politics, 
he found time to do much reading. In this he has set an 
example worthy of imitation, and shown what a man may do 
if he has a taste for study, ambition and perseverance. 

The fact that lie was a self-made man and succeeded in busi- 
ness and politics, cannot be used as a valid argument against a 
liberal education for business men and politicians The 
Greeleys, the Carnegies, the Hulls are the exceptions, on 
account of their superior natural talents and tastes. Most men 
are ordinary men in talents and ambition, and consequently 
need teachers for instruction and discipline, and for this reason 
constitute the rule. In Lieut. Gov. Hull's writings 1 think 
there can be traced evidences of a lack of mental discipline 
and language culture. Certainly he always regretted his lack 
of a liberal education. 

He was a social man and enjoyed the society of educated 
and brilliant people. Though rather retiring and modest, in 
manner, yet he was dignified in society and able to sustain his 
part. By his extensive information, keen wit, and ready re- 
partee, he was an entertaining gnest and an agreeable com- 
panion, In society and among his political associates he met 
many distinguished men ; men of all parties and of all pro- 
fessions, and with some he formed very close friendships. 
He left a manuscript containing anecdotes and reminiscences 
of distinguished men whom he had met. lie left also a sheet 
of paper, on which was written scores of names of persons of 
the greatest eminence whom he had seen. These names in- 
clude those of Daniel Webster, John Quincy Adams, Rufus 
Choat, Dickins, Bryant and Pres. Hopkins. In the last of his 
autobiographic manuscript he thus speaks of Gov. Davis : 
"Honest John Davis, with whom I have spent many pleasant 
hours in the midst of his family at his own pleasant residence 
in Worcester, has during the past week, unexpectedly paid the 
last great debt. No wiser or better man have I found among 
them all." 

In theology, Lieut. Gov. Hull was inclined to what is called 
liberalism rather than Calvinism. He never joined any church. 
But he was a man of strict morals and integrity, and enjoyed 

KM Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

the respect of his fellow citizens. People had such confidence 
in his word and judgment that they often consulted him for 
advice and his opinions. 

lie married Sarah Allen, whose mother was a daughter of 
Elisha Kilhourne, from Wethersfield, Ct. She, in ability and 
character, was every way worthy of her position. Their 
children were : Edmond, who married a Miss Deane, of Hart- 
ford, Ct. ; Cornelia, who married Hon. Alexander Hyde of 
Lee, son of the Rev. Dr. Hyde; Harriett, who married George 
Walker, son of Judge Walker of Lenox ; Albert, who married 
Susan M. Holcombe of West Granville, daughter of Dr. 
Holcombe; George A., who married Maria Freeman of Spring- 
field ; Adeline, and Sedgwich Mills, who were never married. 
Elizabeth II., daughter of Albert, married Geo. A. Stevens of 
Hartsville, and a daughter of Harriett married the late Gen. 
S. C. Armstrong. 

In his old age Lieut. Gov. Hull was overtaken with mis- 
fortunes. For nearly ten years before his death he suffered 
from defective eyesight. This blindness at first was only 
partial, but it increased until it became nearly total. His thirst 
for knowledge and habits of reading made this terrible trial 
doubly severe, but he found some compensation in the fact 
that members of his family devoted much time in reading to 
him. In 1862 he was forced into insolvency. When in 
politics his business suffered more or le.-s from neglect. In 
1857 he lost considerably, and when the civil war came on he 
lost heavily in connection with the tanning business. Accord- 
ing to his own statement his failure was caused by forces, over 
which he had no control. He made an amicable settlement 
with his creditors and was enabled to retain his pleasant and 
comfortable home. 

From this time the infirmities of old age by degrees crept 
upon him, and he died Jan 7th, 1868, lacking just one day of 
his being eighty years of age. 



By henry d. hall, 

North Bennington, Vermont. 

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The attempt of Mr. S. D. Locke in the April,. 1802, number 
of the "National Magazine of American History," to change 
the long established and accepted facts connected with the 
Battle of Bennington, is a marked specimen of perseverance 
in the perversion of history. That those unacquainted with 
all the facts, who may not have easy access to the history made 
and noted at the time, or shortly after its happening, may fully 
understand it, a review of the article at some length may not 
be inappropriate. While sometimes it may appear to the con- 
servative mind to be too aggressive, considering the long quiet 
which has reigned between the " Grants and the Yorkers," the 
excuse is, that the provocation has been given and can only be 
fairly met by considering some things, that by common consent 
have for many years been left to rest, and it has been hoped 
might remain forever in repose. And, though matters may be 
treated which had better not be, except for the challenge ottered 
and in the interest of a proper understanding of all the facts 
in their several bearings, still will it be in a spirit of fairness, 
and with a desire to allay rather than to foster division and 
prejudice. The endeavor will be before closing, to leave noth- 
ing about the story of the battle, but truth relieved of theory 
and imagination. 

The paper begins with stating, that, " much that has been 
written as history, even by our best equipped writers, is con- 
fused with errors or quite false." And, as illustrating his mean- 
ing by conspicuous examples, quotes from Bryant's History, 
and the American Clycopedia. The vital error among the so 
styled, "medley of error," in the opinion of Mr. Locke, must 
be the typographical one, where "at" is put for "near, 11 thus 


108 Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

changing the locality, as it should read near Bennington. For 
surely he cannot think it much of an error for the victors to he 
called New Hampshire militia, when Gen. Stark's 1 brigade 
must have been nearly two-thirds of the army under him, and 
as he seems very willing at all times to have it understood, that 
few Vermont or Bennington men had a share in the battle of 
Bennington, so called in history for one hundred and fifteen 
years. That " no trace now remains to indicate the precise 
locality of the engagement" is substantially correct, for there 
is nothing of the entrenchments or marks of any excavations 
to show where they were located. Jt is true the hill in its 
position and the stream running at its base, are as they were at 
the time of the battle, but in order to locate as nearly as 
possible the camp and breastworks of Baum, and the site of 
the Tory Breastworks, to place markers upon them, a survey 
was made some ten years ago, " by some enterprising citizens 
of Bennington," of whom the writer was one, carrying the 
surveyor's chain up the steep embankment from the river. 
Fighting was done over ground covering a distance of two or 
three miles, and all marks of the "precise locality of any en- 
gagement," have long since disappeared. 

Mr.Xocke says, with reference to history being " confused 
with error," it "seems particularly true of the accounts that 
come to us as the accepted history of ' Burgoyne's expedition 
to the left,' including, k the two battles, one with Baum and one 
with Breyman,' " and, " the story is plain how Banna's five or 
six hundred men, (reliable history make them seven or eight 
hundred) taken in the rear so that their redoults counted for 
nothing, after a desperate conflict, lasting from three to five 
o'clock, were beaten by Stark's eighteen to twenty-two hundred 
militia." It certainly is strange, that the situation of the con- 
tending forces is not better understood by those who write 
about it, and from these intimations, it is not so very wonder- 
ful that errors do creep into history, and wrong impressions are 
often given. Baum was located on a hill with a steep embank- 
ment three or four hundred feet high looking to the east, up 
the road which Stark was expected to advance upon, at the 
foot of which was the Walloomsac river, making it impossible 

The Battle of Bennington. 109 

for an attack on his front. Having little or no fear of the 
enemy from that direction, lie stationed some Chasseurs at the 
foot of the hill on the left, where the river turns to the south 
at nearly a right angle, to guard the approach from the north 
side if the foe should cross the stream near that point. The 
"Tory Breastwork" had been erected on his right, sixty or 
eighty rods to the south east, on rising ground in the direction 
of Stark's encampment, manned by Peter's Corps of Provin- 
cials. Both sides of the road at the bridge at the foot of the 
hill on the right, between his camp and the Tory Breastworks, 
had been built lesser fortifications occupied by Canadian 
Bangers and German Grenadiers, while west on the Sancoick 
road had been located bodies of men with cannon, as though 
Stark would advance only from the east, and if he forced these 
different positions would be met and put to the route before 
getting to his rear. To make all secure, Baum took another 
precaution, and built "breastworks of earth and timber" 
during the day and night of the 15th, looking west or in the 
rear of his camp, (See Dunford's map) and which would only 
be of use in case the Americans out-flanked him, and then the 
works would be in his front, for protection. The skillful Stark 
out-generaled him, and before there had been any movements, 
observable, but marching and counter marching in his front, 
" to amuse Baum as Stark said," Colonels Nichols and Jlerrick, 
by long marches around either flank, had come up in his rear 
and joining their forces made the attack. Then, "the re- 
doubts " did count for all that could be expected, but the dis- 
cipline and the valor of Baum's men could not withstand the 
courage and impetuosity of the Americans, and they were over- 
powered. A soldier in the battle, Jesse Field, says, " We 
pressed forward and as the Hessians rose above their works to 
Are, we discharged our pieces at them"; and Glick. u The troops 
lining the breastworks replied to the fire of the Americans 
with extreme celerity and considerable effect. The Indians 
alarmed at the prospect of having their retreat cut off, stole 
away, after their own fashion, in single files, leaving us more 
than ever exposed, by the abandonment of that angle of the 
entrenchments which they had been appointed to maintain." 

110 Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

It should not be forgotten in treating this subject, that a 
feeling had grown out of the difficulties arising from the 
tenure in which the lands of many of the inhabitants of the 
"grants" had been held, and the stand taken by New York in 
regard to them, did engender such a spirit as made them 
jealous of Vermont's prestige, and indifferent to, or against 
defending what she felt interested in sustaining. This bias 
was shown more particularly in the frontier towns, previously, 
and up to the time when Burgoyne made his "diversion to the 
left," sending Baum under a command to take Bennington. 

It is not the intention to launch out upon imagination and 
theory, throwing aside established history, as an examination 
of the " battle of Walloomsac " will evidence lias been done, 
in reference to many incidents of the battle, but to see if Gen. 
Stark and Bennington, should really be taken into account in 
the transactions of the memorable 16th of August, 1777. 
Mr. Locke says, " there was no engagement in Bennington." 
No well informed person claims there was. It is not supposed 
there were any of Baum's men in Bennington, except as 
prisoners of war, as Stark did not intend there should be, and 
he succeeded in keeping them "at bay," unless in skirmishing 
on the 14th or 15th, some might have crossed the line separat- 
ing New York from Vermont, lie further says, " there was 
no retreat of Baum's detachment after his defeat, but it. was 
annihilated." This is only an assertion made to sustain a 
theory. What say those who were engaged in the affair and 
would be likely to know more about it { Gen. Stark says, in 
a letter to the committee of Safety of New Hampshire, two 
days after the battle, " at sunset we obliged them to retreat a 
second time." There is no other meaning to this assertion, 
than that there had been a retreat of the first detachment 
under Baum. Jesse Field, whom the writer remembers, says 
in a manuscript statement given Gov. Ililand Ball, author of 
the " Early History of Vermont," and for years President of 
the Vermont Historical Society, with reference to the retreat 
after the first engagement, " I should think I did not continue 
in the pursuit over half a mile, though some parties went 
farther." Secretary Fa} r , of the council of Safety, says in a 

The Battle of Bennington. 1 1 1 

letter written August 16th at six o'clock P. M., " Stark is now 
in an action, * * '* The enemy were driven about a mile, 
but being reinforced, made a second stand, and still continue 
the conflict." Thomas Mellen, a soldier in the battle, to James 
Davie Butler, says, " We pursued till we met Breyman with 
eight hundred fresh troops and larger cannon, which opened a 
fire of grape shot." Breyman in his letter to Lord George 
Germain, August 20th, 1777, says, "the Indians made good 
their retreat from the first affair, as did Capt. Frazer with part 
of his company, and many of the provincials and Canadians." 

Mr. Locke says, " he resides less than one and a half miles 
from where Breyman was defeated, and has been critically 
over both fields many times." Others had been over the whole 
ground scores of years before he contemplated visiting it, or 
before his birth, to obtain all the facts connected with the 
movements of the men on both sides, and by them the history 
of the battle was written years ago. Among these, was the 
before mentioned Gov. Hiland Hall, who was born in 1705, 
but eighteen years after the battle was fought, and within less 
than three miles of the field, and who often visited the 
memorable ground in company with those who were in the 
battle, and did not leave the field until the last of Breyman's 
reinforcements were on their way to the camp of Burgoyne, 
on ths Hudson. Mr. Hall, who made history a stud} 7 from his 
childhood, was greatly interested in the war of the revolution, 
and especially in the trials of the early settlers of the IS T ew 
Hampshire Grants, and no less in the Battle of Bennington, 
which turned so effectually the tide of British victories. In 
personal conversation on the battle-field with surviving soldiers, 
he learned as none others could without such opportunities, the 
positions of the enemy, and preserved in writing the most im- 
portant facts of both engagements as reported by the men who 
took part in them. His understanding and account, though 
differing much from that of Mr. Locke in reference to these 
engagements, has been received and quoted for years as worthy 
of confidence, and in a measure authoritative. A remarkable 
occasion, and as showing his interest in the revolutionary 
soldier, he had as guests to dinner, on the 14th of August, 

112 Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

184-0, sixty-three years after the battle, at his home, at that 
time in Bennington Centre, sixteen of the surviving heroes, 

several of whom were in the battle of Bennington, the eldest 
being ninety years, and the average of all reaching eighty 

It will not, perhaps, add weight to these thoughts, to say x the 
writer of this article lives within a mile of the encampment of 
Gen. Stark, which he left on the 16th at the head of the New 
Hampshire, Massachusetts and Vermont troops, mostly militia, 
including Colonels Warner, Herrick and Brush, as officers, 
each of Bennington, with many undisciplined men 'tis true, and 
with reference to whom Mr. Locke, says, " Bennington collected 
two companies of unorganized militia of about one hundred 
men in both, but without a man whose name has appeared in 
the history of the action." Does he mean to cast a sneer upon 
the fidelity, fame or patriotism of the unnamed in history of 
the rank and file of Bennington Militia, who risked their lives 
on that eventful day, and some of whom were carried to their 
homes after the battle, cold and silent in death? It might not 
seem generous to think it of him, though the insinuation may, 
perhaps, warrant such a rendering. But history docs record 
the names of " four of Bennington's most respected citizens, 
who fell on that field of battle : John Fay (son of Stephen), 
Henry Walbridge (brother of Ebenezer), Daniel Warner 
(cousin of the Colonel), and Nathan Clark (son of Nathan and 
brother of Isaac). They were all in the prime of life and all 
heads of families, leaving widows and children to mourn their 
sudden bereavement." If the proportion of Bennington men 
to the whole force under Gen. Stark, was as Mr. Locke seems 
constrained to make it, then the deaths on the American side, 
wyould proportionally have been between eighty and ninety, 
instead of thirty as it is recorded in history. What better 
praise could be bestowed on the Bennington heroes than Gen. 
Stark gave them when he wrote to Gen. Gates August 22d, 
1777, saying, " I then marched in company with Colonels 
Warner, * * * Herrick and Brush, * * * I also 
sent Colonel Herrick with three hundred men in the rear of 
their right, * * * in a few minutes the action began in 

The Battle of -Bennington. 113 

general, it lasted two hours, the hottest I ever saw in my life, 
-:<- -x- •* fl ie CJiein y W ere obliged to give way. I gave orders 
to rally again, but in a few moments was informed that there 
was a large reinforcement, on their march, within two miles. 
Luckily for us, that moment Col. Warner's regiment (under 
Lieut. Col. Samuel Safford of Bennington) came up fresh, 
who marched on and began the attack afresh. * * * I 
cannot particularize any officers as they all behaved with the 
greatest spirit and bravery. Col. Warner's superior skill in 
the action was of extraordinary serviee to me. I would be 
glad if he, (a Bennington man), and his men, (some of whom 
were Bennington men), could be recommended to Congress." 

Mr. Locke says, "These engagements at Walloomsac, known 
in current history as the Battle of Bennington, should be called 
the battle of Walloomsac," and gives his own views as to what 
should determine the name for a battle, and the precise place 
where a monument to perpetuate a victory should be erected 
to be most appropriate, and hand down to posterity the gallant 
deeds of the actors, and inspire the noblest impulses for liberty, 
valor and patriotism. In his voluminous endeavor to answer 
Hon. I). II. Hall and others, in the Troy Times of December 
9th, 1891, he makes the statement nearly a score of times, ad- 
dueing proof which would warrant calling it ' the battle of 
Sancoik,' 'Bauni's defeat,' ' Breyman's disaster' or ' battle of 
Iloosick,' quite as much as the ' battle of Walloomsac,' but 
being partial to ' Walloon^c,' lie can see no good reason why 
it should have been called for over a century, ' the battle of 
Bennington.'" .Gordon, in his " History of the American 
Revolution," eontemporaneous with the events narrated, pub- 
lished in London in 178S, in his comments upon and description 
of this battle, never so much as mentions the name " Walloom- 
sac," but speaks of Bennington at least eight times in such 
ways as follows : " According to information, the Americans 
had a great deposit of corn, flour and store cattle at Benning- 
ton, which were guarded only by militia;" "He therefore 
entertained the design of surprising the stores at Bennington ;" 
" And signal victory over the enemy in their lines at Benning- 
ton ; " "The severe check the enemy have met with at Ben- 


Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

nington;" "especially as the disaster at Bennington added 
to their delay;" "But the Bennington affair put them inbetter 

spirits;" "After the affair at Bennington," etc. All this, as 

though the distinguished Historian had never heard of the 
river or farm Mr. Locke would now have the baftle named 
after, and who we have no reason to suppose was biased in 
favor of, or against New York or Vermont. It will be seen 
by refering to the "map" that Mr. Locke speaks of as "call- 
ing the battle field Walmscoik or Walloomsac," that in order 
to have it known in what part of North America it was located, 
" near Bennington " was wisely added, though it was suppressed 
in his reference to it. Gov. Clinton wrote within a week after 
Baum and Breyman were discomfited, "Since the affair at 
Bennhujton not an Indian has been heard of; the scalping 
has ceased." 

Mr. Locke adopts a theory "that the name of the place 
where a battle was fought should he the name of the battle." 
Does he forget, when he is claiming so much, that he also says, 
" the last or decisive engagement when the largest number of 
the enemy were fighting was at Sancoik," and Breyman he 
further says, " went no farther than Sancoik, when he was de- 
feated." He also says in this connection, " Sancoik was then a 
little hamlet nearly as large as Bennington." The last quotation 
is made that the reader may judge of the candor and in- 
genuousness exhibited in the efforts to make history after so 
long a lapse of time, by changing well authenticated and 
established facts. But the number of houses and size of the 
hamlet, has far less to do with its importance and connection 
with the battle,' in giving it a name, than the influence its stal- 
wart men of brain, nerve and muscle had, who were engaged 
for years in making the history of the embryo state of 
Vermont, during the revolutionary period and the difficulties 
of the early settlers with the state of New York, in its endeavor 
to eject them from their once paid for lands and homes. The 
heroism, the self-sacrilice and clear headed common sense 
shown in their counsels, made them a power, and their conduct 
on the field, in which capacity, they were so often called to act, 
not only for themselves and neighbors, but in the interest of 

The Battle of Bennington. 115 

the colonies, added greatly to their prowess and gave them a 
name through all the land. 

But what does give the name to a battle, or lias from time 
immemorial ? There has been no fixed rule for their naming, 
but like the naming of children, circumstances and surround- 
ings govern, and a name suggested by its adaptation to the 
event meets the views of those concerned, and acquiescence 
determines it, and then David or Jonathan, Patience or 
Dorothy, battle of Bennington or Walloomsac, is the proper 
one, and becomes unchangeable after a period of one hundred 
and fifteen j^ears. And the location of a monument depends 
upon the connection of what is to be perpetuated with the 
circumstances which brought about the event or battle, or what 
ever may have taken place. Such ever has been the rule, and 
such undoubtedly always will be, although it does not meet 
with entire approbation in this case. 

In looking at the names given some of the fifteen "Battles," 
which Prof. Oressey pronounces, "as having had the most 
decisive influence," what has given them their names? Not 
always the field or ground upon which they were fought, but 
other circumstances or reasons have determined many of them. 
Arbela, has given the name "Battle of Arbela," to a battle 
fought (301 B. C.) between Alexander the Great and Darius, 
though in fact " the scene of the conflict was ' Gaugamela ' 
and it was only in the subsequent pursuit, that the conqueror 
arrived at Arbela, where Darius had left his baggage and 
treasure, — 40 to 50 miles distant." " Yarn's defeat by the 
Germans, A. D. 9, in a battle near Kreutzberg, rolled back the 
tide of Roman conquest, and the battle was called 'Ilerman- 
Schlacht,' that is Herman's fight." The " battle of Blenheim, 
did not actually take place here, but at a village in the vicinity 
called Ilochstadt." This important battle was fought August 
13th, 1704, when " France and Bavaria on the one hand with 
56,000 men, stood opposed to Holland, England, Austria, 
Savoy, Portugal and the German Empire on the other with 
52,000 men commanded by Marlborough and Prince Eugene." 
The "battle of Poltova " was fought in 1709, " Poltova being 
famous as the scene of the defeat of Charles 12th, by Peter 

116 Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

the Great, and a monument commemorating the victory of the 
Czar stands in the principal square ; while three miles from the 
town, a mound surmounted by a cross still known as the 
' Sweedish tomb ' marks the battle field." The battle fought 
at Freehold, New Jersey, County of Mommouth, June 28th, 
1778, was styled, "The battle of Mommouth," and the name 
has since been acquiesced in, though it took the name of the 
county in which it was fought, rather than the town, or 
eminence or morass that figure so prominently in the history 
of the battle. The battle of Waterloo and the Bunker Hill 
monument have been sufficiently commented upon by others, 
showing that the battle ground of Waterloo is not located by 
the name, neither does the location of the monument on Breed's 
hill determine the name of the battle fought on Breed's hill. 
It would be equally pertinent and historically correct, to say, 
the battle of Bunker Hill fought on Breed's Hill, Charlestown, 
or the battle of Bennington fought on the heights of the 
Walloomsac in lloosick. Thus by these instances which are 
only a few of those which might be cited, it is shown that 
many things enter into the giving of a name to a battle, or the 
location of a monument. 

Mr. Locke further says, in order to show that "Walloomsac" 
should be the name, "The people of Bennington, a third of 
a century thereafter reapproved the earlier naming," and 
quotes the invitation to Gen Stark to be present at a cele- 
bration, remarking, "this invitation emphasizes two'facts, first — 
That celebrations were held annually and on the battle field," 
"second — This invitation emphasizes also the fact that annual 
celebrations were not then state or town institutions." History 
which is reliable, says the first anniversary of the battle was 
held in Bennington August 16th, 1778, with an oration by 
Noah Smith, Esq., of Bennington, in which he spoke of the 
fight as " the battle of Bennington," and yearly the eventful 
day was celebrated here until in 1802 there was a gathering on 
the battle ground and a sham-fight was had by the soldiery. 
Afterwards until 1810 it was celebrated in Bennington. This 
celebration was a republican gathering, as will be seen by the 
call as published in the newspaper of the time, which reads, 

The Battle of Bennington. 117 

" The committee solicit a general attendance of their ■ republi- 
can fellow citizens' on the 16th of August next, at 10 o'clock 
A. M., at the former headquarters of (Jen. Stark, near the 
dwelling house of Mr. David Henry, in a Held near the 
boundary line of Bennington and Hoosick, after which an 
oration will be pronounced and a repast provided for the 
citizens assembled." The committee, Jonathan Robinson, 
Eleaser Hawks and David Fay, who sent the invitation to Gen. 
Stark, were all Bennington men, and the "toasts" given at 
the "repast provided," give something of an idea of the feel- 
ing of satisfaction in the name which had been given the con- 
flict, as entertained by the then living veterans, and those who 
came out on "that auspicious day." Gen. David Robinson of 
Bennington, who was in the battle and was now equipped with 
the broad-sword taken from Col. Baum on the bloody field, 
was the marshal of the day, Rev. Daniel Marsh of Bennington 
offered the prayer, and among the toasts were, "Gen. John 
Stark, — The Leonadas of America," another, " The surviving 
heroes of Bennington Battle, though their locks are whitened 
with many winters, yet their hearts are still warm in their 
country's cause," and the heading of another, " The heroes of 
liberty who fell in Bennington Battle." 

In 1812 the anniversary of the Battle of Bennington was cele- 
brated in Arlington by the " Washington Benevolent Society" 
with others from the county. In 1828 a celebration was held 
near Judge Draper's in Shaftsbury. In 1832, a celebration 
was held at North Bennington, Gen. David Robinson, Presi- 
dent, Col. J. M. Potter and Maj. Norman Blackmer, Marshals, 
and Hon. Hiland Hall, Orator. In 1833, the day was cele- 
brated in White Creek, with committees to co-opperate from 
White Creek, Shaftsbury, Bennington and Hoosick. All other 
celebrations with one exception, that of 1831, were held in 
Bennington unto this day, unless it might be political or party 
conventions of different kinds. Thus we have three on the 
battle ground or near it, one in White Creek, N. Y., one each 
in Arlington, Pownal and Shaftsbury, and nearly one hundred 
in the town of Bennington, and for the first twenty or thirty 
years after, with a procession from the Court House near the 


Berks] tire Historical and Scientific Society. 

site of the Battle Monument, to the "Old Meeting House," 
which was located near the present first church, in their march 
passing the famous " Catamount Tavern " and the "Vermont 
Council of Safety room." 


Where were the headpuarters of the "Green Mountain Boys," as they met to devise 
plans for the protection of their families and the possession of their once paid for 
homes, from the rapacity of the land jobbers and speculators of New York, known by 
them as '•Yorkers,''' and in which was the room occupied for years by the Vermont 
Council of Safety. The sign, was a stuffed Catamount skin upon a high pole with the 
jaws grinning towards New York. It was built about 17(Jil, and destroyed by fire 
March 30, 1871. 

Does this look like establishing the " facts," as stated in the 
paper under consideration, which would not only intimate hut 
maintain, there was in early times a community of feeling in 
the two states of New York and Vermont, as to the battle? 
Such was not the case, and there never has been a disposition 
on the part of New York generally, or counties adjacent to 
Bennington in that direction, except that which was drawn or 
forced out, for perpetuating the glorious event of August 16th, 
1777. This is said with all due deference to our neighbors, 
among whom there has ever been many conspicuous examples 
to the contrary, and we each would have agreed to have gone 
along in " the even tenor of our way " with no jealousies or 
prejudices to parade before the world had not the attempt been 
made to change many established facts with reference to the 
battle, and the spirit of its celebrations. It has always needed 

The Battle of Bennington. 119 

Bennington men, although the battle Held was in Hoosick, to 
start, carry forward and complete the celebration of the battle, 
when it has been done solely on patriotic grounds. The people 
of New York who took so little interest in fighting the battle 
have since taken, comparatively, but little interest in com- 
memorating the victory. 

The "Fire place " of the Council room, as is shown by the engraving in the stone 
mantel cut one hundred and twenty years ago, where Cols. Seth Warner, Katlian 
Allen and their associates met for consultation, before Vermont was recognized 
as a state. 

In connection with the location of the Bennington Battle 
Monument, Mr. Locke endeavors to make little of the fact of 
a supply of stores and provisions at Bennington, carrying the 
idea that the matter of provisions has been trumped up and 
more made of it than is warranted from the situation at the 
time, and that it may be doubted if there really was a large 
quantity at Bennington. In addition to what has been pre- 
sented by B. H. Hall, Esq., and others, and the risk of repeat- 
ing something that may have been offered, an extract bearing 
upon the matter from a letter by Gen. Arthur St. Glair to the 
President of the Vermont Convention at Windsor, Vt., dated 
"Otter Creek, July 7th, 1777," the day of the battle of Hubbar- 
ton, reads" I am now on my march to Bennington, which place 

Located near the site of the Continental store house, at Bennington Centre, Vt., 
hundred and eighty-five feet above the valley below. It was the objective pom 
the detachment sent bv Gen. Burgoyne for provisions, cattle, Damages, etc.. . w 
resulted in the >4 battle of Bennington." It is thirty-seven feet square at the has 
built, of blue-grey magnesion lime stone, (Dolomite), and rock faced. The neigi 
stone work is 301 ft., WW. inches, which is surmounted by a bronze-rodded hood 
..•iltstar measuring 4 ft.. 6 inches, making the entire altitude 30(3 ft., 4^ inches, 
"•rand look-out floor, is gained by rising 417 steps of easy ascent, the stairway beu 
wrought and cast iron. Designed by J. Ph. Kinn, Boston Corner stone ; laid An 
10th 1887. Cap stone placed November 25th, 1889, and dedicated August 19th, 1891 

t. of 
e, is 
it of 
lg of 

The Battle of Bennington. 121 

I w\\\ obliged to make, on account of Provisions, the Enemy 
having last night possessed themselves of Skeensborough." 

Also, an extract from a "circular for aid," "to the command- 
ing officers of militia and committees of Safety in the States 
of Massachusetts Bay — Connecticut," dated " Bennington, July 
8th, 1777." After saying news had come of an engagement, 
"the particulars of which we have not yet obtained," (the 
Battle of Hubbardton), it is said, "unless the enemy he soon 
stopped and repelled, the whole country will fall into their 
hands, which will prove the ruin of the whole country, as we 
have large stores deposited in this place which we shall of 
necessity be obliged to leave to the enemy and retreat down 
into the New England States, which will soon reduce the 
Country to " cleanness of teeth." Signed, " Moses Robinson, 
Col , Natli'l Brush, Lt. Col., Joseph Farnsworth, Deputy Com- 
missary, Elijah Dewey, Captain, John Fay, Chairman." Also, 
Gen. St. Clair to Gen. Schuyler, dated, "Dorset, July 8th, 
1777." "I am in great distress for provisions. If I can be 
supplied at Manchester I shall proceed directly for Fort Ed- 
ward, or Saratoga, as circumstances may direct; if not, I shall 
be obliged to go to Bennington." Ira Allen, Secretary of the 
Vermont Council of Safety, in a circular to Military officers 
"whom it may concern," dated "Manchester, July 15th, 1777," 
says, after asking for all immediate assistance in their power to 
check the enemy in their advance, "the Continental stores in 
Bennington seem to be their present aim." The letter of Gen. 
Burgoyne to Col. Baum, dated "near Saratoga, Aug. 14th, 
1777, seven at night," does not appear to have received the 
attention it should, touching the matter of provisions, lie says 
to Col. Baum, "you will please send off to my camp, as soon 
as you can, waggons, and draft cattle, and likewise, such other 
cattle as are not necessary for your subsistance. Let the wag- 
gons and carts bring off all the flour and wheat they can that 
you do not retain for the same purpose. This transport must 
be under the charge of a commission officer." If he refers, as 
is supposed, to the flour and wheat mentioned in Col. Baum's 
letter to him written from Sancoik at 9 o'clock, A. M., of the 
same day, then Mr. Locke is in error when he says that " Baum 

122 Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

could make no disposition of these articles," the Hour and wheat, 
etc., "hut to destroy them.' 1 We have further from Burgoyne's 
Orderly hook, Aug. 17th, 1777, in speaking of the "expedition 
which inarched to the left," "the flour taken from the enemy 
to he delivered into the hands of the commissary here," which 
must have referred to that captured at Sancoik. The refer- 
ence to the destroying of Hour and wheat looks like an effort 
to make it appear that Bnrgoyne's army was not in much need 
of provisions, when in fact, a supply was one of the things up- 
permost in his mind. In the same letter Burgoyne says, " I 
will write you in full to-morrow in regard to getting the horses 
out of the hands of the savages," which shows that provisions 
were of greater consequence at this critical time than even 
horses, which were so much needed, especially as the letter of 
Baum, inquiring as to getting horses from the savages had been 
written to him the day before. And (Hick, referring to a time 
just before the setting out of the Baum expedition, says, 
"Though Burgoyne's troops had toiled without intermission 
during three whole weeks, there was in camp no greater stock 
of provisions than promised to suffice for four days consump- 

In speaking of the name of the battle, and endeavoring to 
have everything appear fair in the presentation of the subject, 
he says, "No single instance is recalled, other than this under 
consideration, when a battle field has taken the name of a 
' hamlet of a dozen houses' nine miles away." What are the 
facts in regard to this hamlet, and the town which did give the 
name to the battle fought on the 16th of August, 1777, between 
Gen. Stark and Cols. Baum and Breyman '. The Vermont 
Historical Magazine, page 136, says, "the population of Ben- 
nington in 1775, was about 1,500," so it might be expected in 
1777, to be at least 1600. In 1800, twenty-three years after 
the battle, "the territory now included in the present village 
of Bennington contained but twenty buildings exclusive of 
barns and sheds," so that by far the greater part of the inhabi- 
tants, at the time of the battle lived in the vicinity of Benning- 
ton Centre, where was standing the Continental store house, 
the remainder being located principally, in the western and 


The Battle of Bennington. 123 

north-western parts of the town, on the border of the town of 
Iloosick and State of New York. Thus we see the hamlet, so 
contemptuously spoken of as one of a " dozen houses," must 
have contained over one hundred houses, as that and the vicin- 
ity must have had dwellings to the number of nearly, or quite, 
three hundred, to he in proportion to the inhabitants. That 
there may be a correct understanding as to the population and 
dwellings, it may be said " the first census was taken in 1791, 
when the number of inhabitants was 2377," which up to this 
period, would be the natural growth of this most important 
town in this part of the state. Manchester, the largest town in 
the northern part of the county, had a population of 1270 in 
1791, or at the time of the battle, about 800. This comparison 
of the population of the two towns, will furnish the reader 
with a clue to the animus of Mr. Locke, and the fairness ex- 
hibited in the effort to change history, when in speaking of the 
men furnished in the battle, he says, " Pvooahly^ Manchester 
furnished more troops than Bennington." lie may have had 
his sensibilities affected by reading Glick's account of the 
"promised land," which he in common with Baum, was anxious 
to enter, in the slip which he made in speaking of Bennington, 
as "a hamlet of a dozen houses," when he says, "about twenty 
miles to the eastward of the Hudson lies the obscure village of 
Bennington, a cluster of poor cottages situated in a wild coun- 
try between the forks of the Iloosac." But more than the fur- 
nishing of the greatest number of men, of any town in the 
state during the devolution, and the officers who figured so 
largely in the invasion of Canada and the resisting of Burgoyne, 
Warner, the Aliens, the Bobinsons, the Saifords, the Scotts, the 
Fays, and Ilerrick and others too numerous to mention, the 
town was the seat of the Council of Safety, supplying a major- 
ity of the active members, whose counsel and influence were 
felt all through the northern department, and the wisdom and 
sagacity of whom, planned most of the operations of the Green 
Mountain boys up to the time of, and which culminated in the 
grand result of the battle of Bennington. Bancroft, in refer- 
ring to a letter of Gov. Hutchinson to Gov. Pownal, of July 
10th, 1705, says, "men of New England, of a superior sort, 


124 Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

had obtained of the government of New Hampshire a warrant 
for land down the western slope of the Green Mountains, on a 

branch of the Iloosick, twenty miles east of the Hudson River; 
formed already a community of sixty-seven families in as many 
houses, with an ordained minister; had elected their own mu- 
nicipal officers; formed three several public schools; set their 
meeting house among their primeval forests of beach and ma- 
ple ; and in a word enjoyed a nourishing state which springs 
from rural industry, intelligence and unaffected piety. They 
called their village Bennington." This was twelve years before 
Burgoyne and Glick attempted to enter this "coveted" hamlet, 
the first settlement of which had been made but five years 
before, and which had increased to the number of one hundred 
and fifty families at the time Mr. Locke speaks of it as "a 
hamlet of a dozen houses." 

Thus far the investigation has been pursued with reference 
to topics witli which the general reader is conversant, and which 
needed only to be carefully examined and have historical light 
thrown upon them, to give them their deserved standing in 
history. Mr. Locke says, " It has been thought that Warner's 
regiment held Breyman in check and saved Stark's army from 
defeat, but its numbers, only one hundred and fifty, were too 
small to be effective. It now appears that Col. John Williams 
of White Creek, a New Yorker, at the head of New York 
troops, saved the day. This is history : Gen. Stark with 
twenty-two hundred of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Ver- 
mont and New York troops defeated Baum's six hundred ; and 
Col. William's New York troops, with Warner's one hundred 
and fifty and a portion of Stark's army that he succeeded in 
rallying, defeated Breyman's eight hundred." It appears Mr. 
Locke has been a citizen of Iloosick about twenty years, 
coming from a distance and possessing none of the bias which 
largely affected the early inhabitants. It is not strange that he 
should wish to find something in history, showing that New 
York was really u heart and hand," in sympathy with those 
engaged in the battle of Bennington, and in fact did take part 
with an organized body of troops. lie bases his argument 
upon material furnished by B. II. Hall, Esq., in the History 


1 ■ 

The Battle of Bennington. 125 

of Rensselaer County, N. Y., published in 1880, and endeavors 
to produce historical facts to establish it, although he discards 
many of the facts and conclusions on other points, stated in 
the same paper. The quotation reads thus, " Jt is 'probable* 
that the second battle was begun and 'fought in part' by a 
body of New Yorkers under the command of Col. John 
Williams of White Creek, now Salem." It must be as great 
a wonder to Mr. Hall as any one else, that such a myth could 
grow out of his undisguised statement, and no doubt a just 
and practical solution of the Col. Williams episode, will be as 
satisfactory to him as to other readers, who desire inferences 
drawn from trustworthy premises, or reliable history. 1 ne 
position of Mr. Locke being new, and the attention of the 
earlier writers on the events of the battle, never having been 
called to it with a claim of like importance and with such 
assurance, it should be examined with care and an endeavor to 
solve with all reasonableness, the question as to the part, if 
any, taken by Col. Williams in the battle of Bennington. 
There has been, heretofore, no prejudices of A^ermont or the 
town of Bennington, and there should be none now, to inter- 
fere with a reasonable claim made by a sister state to any 
deserved honor in the battle fought in the town of Hoosick. 
There has been a mutual understanding as to the forces em- 
ployed at the time, and New York has made no claim hereto- 
fore as having taken an active part, and the order to Col. 
Williams has not been understood by the best informed 
historians, to be a military one, but one of discovery, or a pass- 
port to give him and those with him recognition in passing the 
lines and beyond, to a place of comparative safety in Massa- 
chusetts. This order from the Council of Safety, has always 
had given it, it has been supposed, the importance it merited, 
till the remark made by Mr. Hall in 1880 expressed in problem- 
atical language, has been taken up and the effort made to make 
it appear a tremendous reality. " Possibly," " probable," 
"doubtless," "probably," " beyond doubt," " it appears to be 
true," and "undoubtedly," are qualifying terms used in 
making up the case, by Mr. Locke, and if they are not allowed 

12C> Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

to signify more than in their common use, his whole theory 
falls to the ground. The order to Col. Williams reads thus: 

State op Vermont, / 

in Council of Safety, August 16th, 1777. \ 
To Col. John Williams :— 

Silt: You will proceed with your party toward the lines, and ii' the 
enemy should retreat, you will repair to the road leading from St. Cork to 
Hoosack, and if you make any discovery, report to this Council ;— at the 
same time, you are to pay proper attention to the road leading from 
Hoosack to Pownal. 

By order of Council, Paul Spooner, D. Secretary. 

The wording of the paper is such that no one acquainted 
with military tactics, especially of revolutionary times, would 
consider it given to soldiers under arms, hurrying to the battle 
field. Neither would the Council have given a military order, 
on the day Gen. Stark was to attack the enemy, and it knew 
his intentions so to do, for they had been in consultation that 
very morning, — much less a military order which might con- 
flict with Gen. Stark's plans, "if the enemy should retreat." 
Again, if it had been a military order Col. Williams would 
have been told to report to Gen. Stark. The Council were too 
well acquainted with the "stuff" Gen. Stark was made of, to 
tamper with him in the way of giving counter orders, or even 
orders which might be construed to coincide with his ideas of 
the military disposition of his forces. The order reads, " if 
the enemy should retreat, you will repair to the road leading 
from St. Cork to Hoosack, and if you make any 'discovery,' 
report to this council." Was Col. Williams at the head of a 
regiment, company or squad of armed men, militia or con- 
tinental troops, under orders from the Council to take part in 
any fighting, and, " if he made any discovery " to report to 
this Council? The inference is too absurd to be entertained 
and was only grasped by Mr. Locke in his desperation, to get 
hold of something to make it appear, that the state of New 
York was prominent in the defeat of Col. Breyman. Col. 
Williams with his party, was not necessarily within a dozen 
miles of the Council room from which the order of procedure 
or permit emanated, as it may have been forwarded by an 
express or courier in answer to advice asked relative to his 

The Buttle of Bennington-. 127 

approaching the lines from the north in the direction of hie 
home, which is the most rational conclusion. That it was not 
a military order is shown by comparison with other customary 
orders given by the Council of Safety about the same time, 
which are couched in nearly the same language, as follow.-: 
u In Council of Safety, August 2Sth, 1777. To David 

Fassett. Sir: You will proceed to Mr. , and make 

strict examination of his improvements or lands adjoining ; 
and if you find any stock or other effects, which you have 
reason to suspect belongs to any enemical person within the 
state, you may seize the same, and cause it to he brought to 
this Council, as soon as may he. By order of the Council, 
Ira Allen, Secretary." Another order, dated "August 29th, 
1777. You are to proceed to the house of Mr. of Shafts- 
bury, and seize all his lands and effects, of whatsoever name 
or nature, and bring all his Writings, together with all his 
movable effects, to this council, excepting two cows and such 
other effects as are wanted for the support of said family, 
which you are to leave with the woman, taking a proper 
account of them. By order of Council, Ira Allen, Secretary." 
Also, "In Council of Safety, August 29th, 1777. To Mr. 
Benp Fassett. Sir : You are hereby directed to proceed to 
Pownal, and bring from some of the Tories that are gone to 
the enemy, or otherwise proved themselves to he enemies to 
their country, a load of sauce, for the use of the wounded 
prisoners here; and make returns to this Council of what you 
brin.w and from whom. You will leave sufficient for their 
families. Per order, Thomas Chittenden, President." And, 
""26th of September, 1777. To Mr. Wright, and other teams 
in company, you are to repair from this to Paulet, there to 
a pp]y to the commanding officer, or Lt. Hyde, to be loaded 
with plunder, belonging to Col. Brown, and return with the 
same, and deliver it safe, to this Council. By order of 
Council, Joseph Fay, Secretary." One has only to compare 
the " Williams order " with the above to see that it was an 
order or permit for him and his party, to pass the lines, not 
with a command "to do, to dare and to die," hut as a con- 
ductor or leader. Col. Williams was something of a military 

128 Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

man, though not not much of a fighting one as appears from 
history, but a statesman of considerable experience in his state, 
iu the Provincial Congress of which lie was a member, and an 
eminent physician, surgeon and patriot. On duly 2nd, 1777, 
lie, with Colonels Robinson and Warner of Bennington, were 
addressed in a letter by Gen. St. Clair, to eouie with their 
regiments, to his aid at Ticonderoga against (Jen. Burgoyue, 
and of the result it is said " in the war of the revolution " in 
the History of Rensselaer County, "Colonels Warner and 
Robinson reached Ticonderoga in time to take part in its 
evacuation. It is also 'believed' that Col. Williams reached 
the fort, but whether with or without a command is not 
positively known." That he did not reach the battle Held, on 
the 10th of August, 1777, in command of New York troops 
and take part in it, appears to be as certain as other historical 
events connected with it. 

The History of Washington County, N". Y., was published 
in 1878, two years before that of Rensselaer, the " Revolu- 
tionary Period " being prepared by Chrisfield Johnson, Esq., 
showing much study and research. He treats largely of the 
part taken by Charlotte County in the revolutionary struggle, 
and of the town of Newperth or Salem, where Col. Williams 
resided, but has failed to furnish any thing from the large 
collection of papers left by him, or any reliable data from 
other sources, to sustain the theory that he was engaged in the 
Battle of Bennington. He refers to the letter of Gen. St. 
Clair to Colonels Williams, Warner and Robinson, before 
mentioned, and also speaks of the battle of Bennington, claim- 
ing all lie could for the county of Washington, in these words, 
in speaking of Gen. Stark as " the old Indian fighter, grim 
John Stark," "his men were principally from New Hamp- 
shire, though there was a considerable number from Vermont 
and Massachusetts, and some also from the towns of Cambridge, 
White Creek, Jackson and Salem, in this county." It is often 
far easier for the historian to make an assertion, than to present 
trustworthy reasons for making the declaration, as in this 
instance investigation discloses that very few from these towns 
were in the battle, and no facts have been obtained to show 


The Battle of Benninyton. 129 

that an organized body of soldiers or military company took 
part in the fight. On April 22d, 1778, Col. Williams wrote to 
Gov. Clinton, who had informed him that Charlotte County 
would he exempt from a draft which was ordered to iill up the 
Continental army, " on condition of its furnishing the desig- 
nated number, seventy, for the defense of the frontier, that he 
had called his battalion together and could obtain only seven- 
teen volunteers. lie expected to get as many more, but could 
not possibly raise seventy. Enough to make three companies 
had moved down the river and others were preparing to go. 
Of those who remain, the Colonel said, about one half are 
disaffected to the American cause, and most of these he feared 
would join the enemy." If at this time, several months after 
the victories of Bennington and Saratoga, and with the sur- 
render of Burgoyne, the feeling in Charlotte County where 
Col. Williams lived and did so much to sustain what little 
patriotism, comparatively, could be aroused, what must have 
been the coldness of the inhabitants six months previous at the 
time of the battle, which occcured a little more than a month 
after the defeat of Warner at Hubbard ton ? It certainly is 
worth while to candidly weigh the question, when an endeavor 
is made to so add to accepted history without proof to justify 
it, and a reasonable regard to surrounding circumstances taken 
into consideration. There must have been a poor showing for 
Gen. Stark at the time in this locality, and without something 
to bolster the conjecture that " Col. Williams with his New 
York troops" was present at the battle of Bennington, the 
theory should be repudiated. 

In the County history, speaking of the town of White 
Creek, it says, " Austin Wells, a son of Edmund Wells, the 
latter a pioneer of Cambridge, went in 1777, to assist an older 
brother in Cambridge to remove his family to a place of safety, 
information having been received that a detachment of 
Burgoyne's army might be expected through the Cambridge 
valley. .Having taken the family to Williamstown, the brothers 
hastened back, and reached Bennington in time to join in the 
closing scenes of the battle." With reference to Cambridge, 
it says, of Mrs. Sarah Hall, " She was first married to Thomas 

130 Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

Comstock, a descendant of the Puritans, who heroically fell 
in the battle of Bennington, August 16th, 1777," and in 

another place it says, "some of the settlers left their homes 
through fear of the enemy and their Indian allies," and 
mentions nine, who "are known to have served in the Ameri- 
can cause." And of Jackson's part, " The citizens of this 
town shared, no doubt, in the great events occurring around 
them and in their midst during the War of the Revolution. 
Doubtless several from this town were in service, but no 
records are found in the town upon this point, and the memory 
of the older people does not recall them." 

It will be necessary to further examine the order to Col. 
Williams, to learn its full import, in order to judge of the 
weight to be given it in its relation to the battle of Benning- 
ton. It purports to be an order of observation, or a permit as 
leader or conductor of a "party" to give attention to the 
roads spoken of, as he journeyed, and see if he could make 
discovery of anything that might effect the situation "if the 
enemy should retreat," but otherwise he was not expected to 
learn or do anything, as he proceeded on his way. Or, he may 
have been guide or escort to a " party " of refugees, which 
would likely be composed largely of women and children, 
fleeing from Salem, then Newperth, or White Creek, and the 
country contiguous, to towns in Massachusetts for safety. A 
meeting was held in " Newperth, 25th of July, 1777, John 
Itowan, Chairman," at which, men were appointed from four 
different parts of the town, " to apprise and value all the crops 
and buildings in said district," and the inhabitants were 
counseled " to evacuate their places of residence and move into 
the interior of the state." But, Lieut. Col. St. Ledger was 
sent just at this time, by Burgoyne, into the interior with an 
army, so it was unsafe to flee in that direction, and we find 
many from Salem and vicinity in Massachusetts, having tied 
on horseback, and among them Mrs. Williams, the wife of Col. 
Williams, in Williamstovvn the day after the battle. This is 
history by tradition as well as written, in relation to her and 
others who had gone at this time. A receipt of which the 


The Battle of Bennington. L31 

following is a copy, is now on file among the papers of Col. 


Williamstown, August ye 17, 1777. 

Received of Mrs. Williams the whole of Doct Williams Amputating 

I say received by me. Saul Porter. 

Furthermore it is shown by a receipt, which was given by 
one Hopkins, for a horse impressed into the service, to Captain 
Barns, who was acting for Col. Williams, dated Newperth, 
August 20th, 1777, that the Colonel was still absent from home, 
and being a physician and skillful surgeon, was most likely in 
Williamstown with his wife and rest of the party he had 
escorted thither, attending to the wounded and suffering, and 
if need be using the surgical instruments he had brought with 
him. It would also appear that his duties were many, for it 
was necessary he should have the assistance of his eilicient 
wife in the multitude of his engagements, in the delivery of 
the instruments mentioned in the receipt of Sand Porter. It 
is said of him : " He was a surgeon in the Continental line, 
acting as such in several of the heaviest battles of the war and 
especially in the battle of Monmouth," which took place June 
28th, 1778. So, here in Williamstown we find Col. Williams, 
whom Mr. Locke makes the hero of the second action between 
Gen. Stark and Col. Breyman; Col. Williams who lived an 
active life in Salem, twenty-nine years after the battle of 
Bennington took place, never claiming or intimating he had 
anything to do in fighting it, and of whom it was never claimed 
he took any part, until Mr. Locke moved into Iloosick and 
had lived several years near the battle ground and had " gone 
over it critically." Then his eye falling upon this hint, before 
quoted, " It is ' probable ' that the second battle was begun 
and fought in part by a body of New Yorkers under the com- 
mand of Col. John Williams of White Creek, now Salem," 
he invents a theory and with his characteristic energy starts it 
on its cometic course. Nor did Col. Williams make a report 
of the attention he gave the roads " leading from St. Cork to 
Iloosick," and " from Hoosack to Pownal." Nothing of 
consequence was discovered, as he made his way at the head of 

132 Berkshire Historical a/ad Scientific Society. 

his party, over these roads which was the shortest route to 
Williamstown and towns beyond, though they ran through a 

section peopled with Tories, and passed the home of Col. 
Piaster of Iloosick, who was that day in the battle in com- 
mand of the Tories, at the Tory breastwork, and whose prestige 
influenced many of the faint hearted in his neighborhood, to 
withhold their allegiance to the American cause. The following 
letter shows the feeling of one of Bennington's noble sons, at 
the time of which we are considering : 

Bennington, August the 20th, 1777. 
Honored Father : 

After my duty I take this opportunity to write to you, hoping these few 
lines will find you well, as through the goodness of God they leave me 
and my family. We met with a great deal of trouble on the lGth instant. 
Myself and brother John was preserved through a very hot battle. We 
killed and took according to the best account we can get, about one 
thousand of the enemy. Our loss was about thirty or forty. We marched 
right against their breastworks with our small arms, where they fired 
upon us every half minute, yet they never touched a man. We drove 
them out of their breastworks and took their field pieces and pursued and 
killed great numbers of them. We took four or five of our neighbors- 
two Sniders and two Hornbecks. The bigger part of Dutch Iloosick was 
in the battle against us. They went to the Reglers a day or two before 
the fight. Samuel Anderson, was a Captain amongst the Reglers, and 
was in the battle against us. Whilst I was gone my wife and children 
went off and got down to Williamstown. After I got home 1 went after 
them and found them to Landlord Simons.* I have got them home again. 
My wife was very much tired out. She had four children with her. 
Belindy was forced to run on foot. We soon expect the enemy will come 
upon us again and what shall L do with my family 1 know not. * * * 

Joseph Rudd. 
It should not; prehaps, seem so very strange that so few of 
those in the state of New York, on the line of Vermont, took 
part in the defence of Bennington, as their sympathies had 
been for years with their own state in the "Hampshire Grant 
controversies," and the influential men, especially of the town 
of Iloosick, were casting their influence against us. There 
was an organization among the Tories, and none in the interest 
of Vermont, or the American Colonies. 

We see the magnanimity and generosity of Mr. Locke, for 
the town of his adoption, in the filling up of the ranks of 

*Col. Simonds. 

The Battle of Bennington. 133 

(toil Stark, by multiplying those who "probably" joined his 
command, as the number is far greater than is warranted by 
the facts of history or tradition ; and by his zeal for the glory 
of his town and state, in cherishing every thing that lias a 
semblance of show, as a thing of reality. In his account of 
the battle, he says, " the accounts agree that tire Baum action 
closed at live o'clock in the afternoon," " that soon after intelli- 
gence was received that there was a large reinforcement within 
two miles on the march ; and that Warner's regiment came up 
at the time. So much is beyond question, but of the Brcy- 
man engagement most of the best writers have been unsatis- 
factorily brief, or entirely in error. At this point some of 
the later writers, copying from Breyman's, Glick's and Reid- 
sell's accounts, are enabled to throw some light on the second 
engagement, and these accounts snpplimented by some facts 
published it is believed for the first time in the History of 
Ilensselaer County, dispel almost entirely the obscurity that 
has been over the Breyman defeat." This reference to " Brey- 
man's, Glick's and Keidsell's accounts, is thrown in it would 
seem, as a blind or ruse, as is sometimes done by writers to 
uphold a weak proposition, for in the account of neither is 
there any thing relating to the battle but what has heretofore 
been presented and properly dwelt upon in history, and the 
"light" of which, if permitted to cast its radiance "on this 
second engagement," shows conclusively that Col. Williams 
was not with New York troops in the second battle, and that 
the material for sustaining such a " theory" will have to come 
from other sources. To support and strengthen his cherished 
theory, he quotes " Stone," saying, " Breyman reached the 
bridge at three o'clock in the afternoon." lie comments on it, 
saying "this time three o'clock, is to be noted, as Stark in his 
official report to the New Hampshire Council says Col. Nichols 
"commenced the attack precisely at three o'clock in the after- 
noon" on Baum. Breyman arrived at the bridge (over the 
White Creek stream), at Sancoik precisely at the opening of 
the attack on Baum." It would seem that the time, three or 
live o'clock,for the commencement of the second battle, is used 
in making up the case, just as either one is thought best suited 


134 Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

for the argument or point to be gained. Upon this corner 
stone, that " Breyman arrived at Sancoik at tlirce o'clock, P. 
M., he goes on to build his theory, while all that is" reliable in 
history makes the time later. He adopts this time for his own 
convenience instead of "half past four in the afternoon," the 
time stated by Col. Breyman himself, in his account of the 
part he took in the battle, and whose accuracy is established, 
by another reference to time in the same report, when he says 
in speaking of his halt near Cambridge, " toward two o'clock 
in the afternoon Col. Skeene sent two men to me with the re- 
quest that I would detach one officer and twenty men to occupy 
the mill of St. Coyk, as the rebels showed signs of advancing 
on it." These men were to be sent forward in advance of 
Breyman's main body, and he did send, as he says, "sixty 
grenadiers and Chasseurs and twenty Yagers. I followed as 
quickly as possible with the rest. Some of the ammunition 
carts again broke down on the road. I reached the mill at half 
past four." Nothing can well be more certain than that this 
is the correct time of Breyman's arrival at Sancoik, which is 
further corroborated by Gen. Burgoyne's orderly book of date 
August 2Gth, when there had been opportunity to fix the time 
most accurately, when he says, " The next cause (of failure) 
was the slow movement of Lieut. Col. Breyman's Corps, which 
from bad weather, bad roads, tired horses and other impedi- 
ments stated by Lieut. Col. Breyman, could not reach 24 miles 
from eight in the morning of the 15th to four in the afternoon 
of the 16th. But the theory has been adopted, and now 
circumstances and events must be made to fit together or bend, 
so as to clothe the skeleton and make it a thing to be admired 
as a model of symmetry, beauty and truth. The position taken 
is, " scarcely had Breyman advanced fifteen hundred paces 
from the bridge when he descried a strongly armed force on an 
eminence towards the west," and "sent ahead some scouts." 
As he was marching almost directly east, he could not have 
" descried a strongly armed force on an eminence towards the 
west" and sent ahead, which would have been toward the 
east, some scouts, who were received with a volley of musketry," 
but the account of Breyman, who knew of what he affirmed, 

The Battle of Bennington. 1 35 

is the correct one, viz, "that lie had not gone far from the 
bridge, "when I noticed through the woods a considerable 

number of armed men (some of whom wore blouses and some 
jackets), hastening towards an eminence on my left flank." 
In both letters of Gen. Stark to the New Hampshire Council 
and Gen. Gates, one of August 18th, and the other August 
22d, 1777, he says, " I received intelligence that there was a 
large reinforcement within two miles of us, on their march 
which occasioned us to renew our attack." Mr. Locke asks, 
relying on three o'clock as being the time, "What 'strongly 
armed force' was this that at this time, was on 'an eminence' 
west of Breyman and of the only road leading to Bauin's 
camp?" It is easily answered and without any perversion of 
history, but in accordance with what actually occured. There 
was no force " on an eminence 'west' of Breyman," when he 
came upon the field, but "a considerable number" of Stark's 
men in shirt sleeves and frocks, were " hastening towards an 
eminence on Breyman's left flank," sufficient opportunity 
having been given after the intelligence of his approach was 
received, for the hurrying together of those who had pursued 
the flying Hessians, meaning to capture or kill them all. They 
had gone, as the old soldiers in their manuscript accounts have 
stated, far beyond the general battle field, and were in a 
situation to collect together on Breyman's approach. As they 
could not expect to withstand his army in front, they fired 
down upon him volleys from the hill whither many had col- 
lected, doing good execution in their " blouses and jackets," 
" and poured a deadly fire into his ranks." Others on Brey- 
man's approach had collected in the old log house. near which 
were posted his cannon, and made as best they could a stand 
against the best soldiers Burgoyne could send to reinforce 
Baum, but all in vain. Breyman further says, " The cannon 
were posted on a road where there was a log house. This we 
fired upon, as it was occupied by the rebels." With regard to 
this, from a manuscript statement of Benjamin G. Arnold of 
Pownal, now eighty-two years old, we copy, "I have often 
heard my grandfather, Ebenezer Arnold, who said he lived at 
the time of the battle of Bennington west of the Baum en- 

130 Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

campment, on the north side of the road leading to St. Coik or 
North Hoosick, in a log house. He often told of a cannon 
ball going through the roof, and that the firing took off the 
roof, He said Stark's men were in the house when Breyman 
eaine up, and went out and fired on his troops and that they 
fired down into the British as they came along." We learn 
from Thompson's Vermont, "They opened an incessant lire 
from their artillery and small arms, which was for a while, 
returned by the Americans with much spirit, hut, exhausted 
and overpowered by numbers, we at length began slowly, but 
in good order, to retreat before the enemy, disputing the 
ground inch by inch." Breyman continued advancing up the 
road with cannon in front clearing the way, supported by 
wings of infantry on either side. At this critical time, as Gen. 
Stark says, " Col. Warner's regiment came up fresh, who 
inarched on and began the attack afresh, which put a stop to 
their career. We soon rallied, and in a few minutes the action 
was very warm and desperate, which lasted until night. We 
used their cannon against them, which proved of great service 
to us. At sunset we obliged them to retreat a second time, we 
pursued them till dark, when I was obliged to halt for fear of 
killing our men." This language of Gen. Stark, when he 
speaks of obliging them to retreat at sunset, the second time, 
and then pursuing them till dark does not tally well with the 
theory that Breyman went little or " no farther than San Coik." 
The ground from the hill beyond the present Walloon isac 
station and east for at least a half mile was fought over and 
over again, and the ending of the fight was some distance east 
of North Hoosick according to Breyman's report, which agrees 
with that of Gen. Stark, when he says, " I retreated on the 
approach of darkness, destroyed the bridge, had as many of 
the wounded as possible brought thither that they might not 
be captured, and after a lapse of half an hour, in company 
with Col. Skeene, pursued my march and reached Cambridge 
towards twelve o'clock at night." It must be that every 
soldier of the " party " under Col. Williams, that fought so 
bravely, was killed, or it would have been noted in Salem, and 
the roll of honor of those who died on " that eminence towards 

The Battle of Bennington. 137 

the West" would have been recorded or been handed down by 
tradition, but there is not an iota of evidence to substantiate 
such a fiction. And further, Col. Williams, if anything of tin; 
kind did take place, not only failed to report it to the council, 
but so far forgot the valor of his noble men, as ever to mention 
the matter in a public or private way, or even claim that he 
himself was in the battle. He was a man of excellent ability, 
" his legislative career lasted nearly twenty years," and he 
tilled, with high credit, offices of judicial trust. He lived 
nearly thirty years after the battle not twenty miles from the 
battle field, dying in 1806, and yet there is nothing among his 
papers or anything authentically known, that he was aware of 
the important part ascribed to him and his ki party," in the 
theory presented by Mr. Locke. Had Col. Williams with an 
armed company, been in the battle, and done the execution 
here claimed for them, they would no more have escaped the 
notice of Gen. Stark or those who early wrote of the engage- 
ment, than did the reinforcement of Col. Warner's troops, 
without which the day would have been lost, or even that of 
Blucher at the battle of Waterloo, and the service would have 
received all the praise and glory which a grateful people could 
bestow. Is it reasonable to expect that any number or manipu- 
lation of conjectures, can make a mere theory a real transact- 
ion, or, should they give an imaginary company of New York 
troops, immortal glory ( 

The endeavor has been to make this review, with all due 
consideration to the feelings of those most nearly interested, 
and for the sake of history and its vindication, and it is now 
submitted to the public, with a desire that it may receive, only, 
that regard which its merit demands. 

In conclusion, it may be said, the States of New Hampshire, 
Massachusetts and Vermont, have heretofore amicably under- 
stood their relative positions and importance, in the glorious 
defeat of the enemy on the 16th of August, 1777, and in 
accordance with such understanding have co-operated at all 
times, but more especially of late have their longings and 
aspirations been realized in the construction of the grand and 


Berkshire Historical and Scientific Society. 

imposing battle monument, standing upon the territory coveted 
by Burgoyne, towards which each state munificently con- 
tributed, and the erection of which was so nobly and generously 
endorsed by this great nation, in the gifts of over fifty thousand 
dollars towards its completion. 


— OK THE- 

Berkshire Historical 

Scientific Society 



I8 95 . 

Prefatory Note. 

It has come to be the usage of the Berkshire Historical and Scientific 
Society, to print from time to time several of its papers in a pamphlet like 
the present, and then when four of these have been issued, to bind them 
into a permanent volume. The present number is the second in the series 
that will constitute Volume II. 

It is believed that the present number will not fall below in general 
interest any of its predecessors. Gov. Weston's paper on Paper-Making 
in Berkshire, which opens the number now in hand, represents at once the 
Scientific and Historical sides of our county work. It corresponds in this 
respect with Mr. Harding's equally interesting discussion of the Glass 
Manufacture in Berkshire, printed in our last. 

We congratulate our members and the whole people of Berkshire, on 
the publication of the invaluable record of Thomas Allen about his grand- 
father, his father, and the latter's entire family. This paper, which en- 
riches the current number beyond all price, is perhaps more characteristic 
of the purposes for which our Society was founded than any other that we 
have printed from the first. Our quest is local history and local science. 
We want to know all about the leading men and women, who have helped 
to make Berkshire County what it is and what it is to become. We want 
to penetrate into the states of society and of opinion that marked the past 
generations here, and to preserve and pass on the results of our search. 
Thomas Allen has done us and posterity a very great service. Parson 
Allen of Pittsfield is not only the most distinguished citizen that Berkshire 
County has yet had, but also the most picturesque and influential one. 
His politics were as soundly based as was his patriotism and his personal 
religion. The fundamental maxims, which were almost as much his own 
as they were Jefferson's-, — No special privileges under the law to any individ- 
ual or class of individuals, — equal rights and opportunities to all men so ft r 
as governments are concerned, — were not only worthy of all acceptation, 
but came to be accepted under his leadership by the entire people of Pitts- 
field and of Berkshire County. One among many proofs of this is the fact 
that Ezekiel Bacon, a democrat of democrats, was elected to Congress in 
1807, receiving, it is said by Dr. Smith, every vote in Pittsfield, and 
nearly ever vote in the congressional district. He served four terms, and 
was on the Committee of Ways and Means, serving as its chairman in the 
trying times of 1812-13. Bacon's single influence with President Madison 
was sufficient to secure the selection of Joseph Story, another Massachu- 
setts democrat, to the Supreme Bench of the United States. No advocate 
in Berkshire of special privileges to the few at the cost of the many, — not 
even Theodore Sedgwick, who was the national leader of the Federalist 

party, the party of Privilege, ever gained and held, as Allen easily be- 
cause unselfishly did, a firm footing in the popular gratitude, still less in 
the popular memory. Modestly yet radically does the author of our pa- 
per give the grounds of this astonishing success in the life of his grand- 
father, in some sense also the father of tin; county of Berkshire. 

It would be difficult, if not impossible, for any other one of our mem- 
bers, to crowd into so few words so many interesting- points of Berkshire 
history as does Arthur Lawrence in his current monograph on Berkshire 

Our society owes a great debt to Judge Munson of New Haven; he- 
has done a great deal for us, and lie voluntarily promises to do more. 



Massachusetts, U. S. A. 

By Hon. BYRON WESTON, of Dalton. 



The duty tli«it lias been assigned me, of writing the history 
of paper manufacturing in Berkshire county could, I am sure, 
have been better placed than upon me. There are yet in active 
business a number of gentlemen in the county whose experi- 
ence in this industry almost covers its local history. Hon. 
Harrison Garfield and the Messrs. May and Hon. Elizur Smith, 
of Lee, the elder Cranes of Dalton, and some others, are vet- 
erans in the trade; have grown with it almost from its origin, 
and remember well the little wayside mills that were the germs 
of these great establishments which are now the support and 
prosperity of many Berkshire villages. To some of these vet- 
erans this duty should have been assigned, for I know that, 
from their personal experience in the trade, their connection 
with its growth and their share in its development, they could 
have framed a far more interesting history than I can. To 
them, however, I am indebted for a great deal of information 
and assistance without which this paper could not have been 
written, and to them the Society's thanks and my own are due. 

It goes without saying, I suppose, that there is no other one 
fabric so essential to the world as paper. To strike it from the 
world's products would be to doom mankind to a return to 
barbaric ignorance. It is, in co-partnership with the printing- 
press, the inspiration to civilization, the messenger of Grace, 
Mercy and Peace, the preserver of governments, the voice of 
the people, the destruction of tyrannies, the soul of all progress. 
Upon sheets of paper made in Lee were written and printed 
Horace Greeley's first numbers of the New York Tribune, a 
paper which the friendship of a Lee paper maker enabled him 
to start. His place in the history of this country, beginning 
with the few reams of Berkshire paper, and the influence of 

4 Berkshire Historical Society. 

that journal, burn in a Lee paper mill, so to speak, are well 
known. From the same mill, or rather, from the mill occupy- 
ing the old site, another great journal gets the sheets by which 
it speaks to its enormous constituency, the New York Herald. 

In Lee. 

The manufacture of paper in the town of Lee began in the 
year 1800, in which year Samuel Church moved into the town 
from Connecticut, and built a " two-vat" mill on the site now 
covered by one of the Hurllmt Paper Company's buildings in 
South Lee. Such a mill made an average of ten reams of paper 
per day, of course making it by hand. The process, in brief, 
was, to beat the rags to a pulp in engines similar to those used 
now; this pulp was gathered, while mixed with water, upon 
sieves or wire-covered frames, one sheet to a frame, and on the 
frames it was dried sufficiently to be handled, then finished by 
pressing between hot metal plates and press paper boards. 
There w T ere no calenders in use to give the paper the smooth, 
beautiful finish now desired. Some idea of the progress made 
in producing quantity at the mills may be had from the fact 
that a "four- vat mill" of the hand era would produce about 
400 pounds of paper per day. A modern four engine mill, 
with the same number of employes as worked in the four-vat 
mill, but with modern machinery, will make 2,000 pounds of 
very much better goods. The price of the old hand-made 
paper was from 40 to 50 cents a pound; the price of our mod- 
ern machine-made paper is from 15 to 25 cents. Ten thousand 
dollars was a large capital for a four-vat hand mill; for a mod- 
ern four-engine mill forty thousand dollars is sometimes too 
limited a sum. 

The first North Lee mill, and the third built in the county, 
was put up by Luman Church, in 1808, on ground covered 
now by the Smith Paper Company's Eagle Mill. The Churches 
seem to have been not only pioneers in paper making, but to 
have been energetic ones. In 1821 Luman Church built the 
" Forest Mill," now Harrison Garfield's, and in 1831 the 
Waverly Mill, now owned by Mr. Hamlin, of the late firm of 

History of Paper Making. 5 

Chaffee & Hamlin. The Churches' connection with the busi- 
ness closed, however, before its prosperity and growth began, 

but their enterprise and faith in it gave Lee the impetus which 
resulted in making that town, for many years, the most impor- 
tant in the paper trade in this country. In 1 S-to it is said one- 
fifth of all the paper made in the United States was manufac- 
tured at Lee. • 

In 1822 John Ames, of Springfield, patented the cylinder 
machine which gathered the pulp on a revolving wire cylinder, 
taking the place of the old hand-frame or wire sieve, and greatly 
inereasing the productive capacity of the mills. Other im- 
provements about this time, when there were three mills in 
Lee, were devised. 

The nigs for the hand mills were picked up about the coun- 
try by peddlers, who traded paper, pens, school books, etc., 
with the farmers' wives for their rags. The process of bleach- 
ing, as now practiced, was unknown. The nigs were sorted 
and the different colors separated. Blue was supposed to be a 
color that could not be bleached out, and blue rags were sold 
to some mill where "tobacco paper" was made. The tobac- 
conists still stick to their color, but it need not be inferred that 
their wrapping is now, as it then was, all made from blue rags. 
The beating of the rags to a pulp gave rise to the story of 
the origin of "foolscap," and it was repeated seriously to the 
writer by an old paper maker in Lee. It was related that a 
half-witted youth sat upon a rock on the top of which was a 
shallow depression containing some water. Into this puddle 
the boy dropped his cap, and, with a stone, foolishly and idly 
pounded his linen turban into pulp. The sun dried the "stuff" 
or fibre, which had spread itself through the water upon the 
bottom of the puddle, and lo! it was lifted out a sheet of paper 
—foolscap in fact. 

In 1820, when the improvements just spoken of became 
accessible, another mill building era began in Lee. Messrs. 
Walter, Winthrop and Cutler Laflin built in that year a mill 
on the site of the Smith Paper Company's present Llousatonie 
Mill. It was the first in the town in which paper was made 
by machinery, and as the building was LOO feet long, it was 

<i JJerlcshire Historical Society. 

considered a marvel in the lavish use of capital. The Laflins 
also built a mill on the Ilousatonic at the present location of 
the Columbia Mill, owned by the Smith Paper Company, and 

they continued prosperously in the business for ten years. 
During this decade, Stephen Thatcher, who died a few months 
ago at Saratoga, nearly one hundred years old, built the mill, 
now obliterated, but for years run» by Mr. John Bottoraley. 
Mr. Thatcher and the Laflins are remembered in the paper 
trade as being connected with the "Navarino Excitement," 
which was one of the most successful speculations in the his- 
tory of the business. Mr. Thatcher began making a thick, 
straw-colored paper which was pressed between plates and 
stamped so as to resemble the present Leghorn hat material. 
it was sold for bonnet and hat making, and became as "fash- 
ionable" and as universally worn as paper collars were a few 
years ago. It is said bonnets nicely made from this paper sold 
as high as $5 each. The Laflins, with their greater facilities, 
soon went into the speculation, giving their paper the " Leg- 
horn appearance " by the quicker process of running it between 
engraved rollers. For a time the business was very prosperous, 
but it had a rather short life. Perhaps a thousand Navarino 
bonnets were caught out at a showery picnic and the mishap 
ruined the fashion. Belles and beaux, matrons and maidens, 
who had been proud of their "Leghorn hats," an expensive 
luxury in those days, found, when the rain had wilted them 
and spoiled the straw-like impression, that they had been wear- 
ing only a smart Yankee's paper imitation of the costly gen- 
uine article. 

The " Bottomley Mill," so called, passed to its ashes through 
more hands than any other mill in Lee. Built in 1833 by 
Thatcher & Son, it became Thatcher cV r TngersolTs in 1n40; 
in 1851 it was bought by Harrison Smith and David S. May. 
They ran it until 1856, when May retired from the firm. In 
1857 Tanner & Perkins took the mill. Then it became Toole 
&, Bottomley's. Still later Mr. Bottomley owned it alone, and 
it was burned while under lease to Ferry & Wrinkle. 

The Pleasant Valley Mill, just north of Lenox Furnace, was 
built in 1835 by Leonard Church, Joseph Bassett and Thomas 

History of Paper Making. 7 

Sedgwick, who made printing paper for several years. Messrs. 
Church & Bassett sold out to Sabin & Cone, and afterwards 
the firm heeame Sedgwick & Cone. Robbins & Crosby were 
the next owners, and following them Gibbs, Dean & Ofiborne 
were proprietors until 1857. The mill was idle for many years, 
or until the Smith Paper Company bought it. 

The Washington Mill, now Harrison Garfield's, on Water 
street in Lee, was built by Foote '& BoswOrth in 1855. While 
the mill was building Bosworth was killed by the overturning 
of a load of wood upon him. Joseph B. Allen, of Newton, 
and Leander Backus, of Lee, took up the enterprise and ran 
the mill until it was sold to Benton & Garfield in 1841). 

The first mill on the Lake May stream was built in 1837 by 
J a red Ingersoll and Sylvester S. May. It was a one-engine 
mill and produced straw paper. It was burned in 1831). In 
1840 Mr. E. S. May bought Mr. Ingersoll's interest and the 
mill was rebuilt with two engines, running on straw paper 
until 1845. They then built farther up the stream their middle 
mill containing two engines, also straw paper until 1840, when 
it was run on wall papers. In 1847 both mills began to pro- 
duce writing papers. In 1852 Benjamin Dean was added to 
the linn, and the " upper" four-engine mill was built and run 
upon tine papers. Dean remained with the firm until 1854, 
when he retired and the late Samuel S. Rogers entered the 
partnership. Dean was a somewhat remarkable character. He 
recently died in Michigan. During the latter years of his life 
in Lee, his peculiarities made him a marked citizen, lla had 
a massive head, long, flowing gray hair and whiskers, and spent 
his leisure in writing " poetry," as he called it, satirizing the 
Bar and Pulpit. He became a "free thinker" and Spiritualist 
and was always ready for an argument. Some one said to him 
one day, " You can find a rhyme for almost any word, but it 
would puzzle you to concoct a rhyme for Timbuctoo." Instantly 
Dean replied : — 

"The Missionary went to Timbuctoo 
Where savages ate him and his hymn book too. 

In 1877 the firm of May & Rogers was dissolved by the 
retiring of Mr. Ivogers, who took the upper mill, since burned 



Berkshire Historical Society. 

and not rebuilt. The firm of E. & S. May is the oldest active 
business paper manufacturing firm in tliu county. 

In 183S John Baker and George Wilson built a mill on the 
Cape street or Green water stream. They ran it a short time, 
and it then passed into the hands of Ira Van Bergen, subse- 
quently was owned by Platner & Smith, later by George West, 
who owned it when it was burned, and it has not been rebuilt. 
The oidy other paper mill ever located on this stream was 
built in 1844 by Sturges & Costar. They ran it three years 
and it was then bought by Orton Heath, who operated it a 
number of years and then sold it to Baird & Linn; afterward 
Mr. Baird owned it alone and sold it to Patrick Owen, who 
ran a brief and disastrous career. The mill is idle, compara- 
tively worthless, and is falling into ruin. 

In 1846 the mill on the Lake May stream known as the 
" Upper Forest Mill" was built by Benton & Garfield. Ben- 
ton & Baird (C. C. Benton & Hon. P. C. Baird), next owned 
it, and later Mr. Baird bought his partner's interest. It was 
burned but rebuilt by Mr. Baird and is now used by him. In 
1853 Bradford Couch built a mill on the Lake May stream, 
and it was run by him and by Couch & Clark until bought by 
Mr. Baird, and it is now run on collar paper. Mr. Baird was 
among the lirst to begin manufacturing paper collars, and lie 
and bis brother, George K. Baird, now a druggist, made im- 
mense numbers of them before they finally abandoned the 
business, lion. P. C. Baird's factory alone sometimes turning 
out 100,000 collars in a day. 

In 1855 Northrup & Eldridge built a mill on the site of the 
mill now run by Gilmor & Sparks, the mill nearest Lake May. 
Northrup sold out to Eldridge, and later the mill passed into 
the hands of Tanner & Perkins, machinists. The next pro- 
prietors were Blauvelt & Gilmor; subsecpiently Mr. Gilmor 
had it alone. In this mill was made paper twine during the 
high price of cotton in war times. It was twisted from strips 
of manilla paper and it was strong enough for light purposes, 
unless it happened to meet the supposed fate of the Navarino 
bonnets by getting wet. This site has been an unfortunate 
one, as three mills have been burned upon it. The present 
mill was built in L878. 

History of Paper Making. 9 

The Greenwood Mill, now owned by the Benton .Brothers 
(J. F. and C. C.),was built by Benton A: Garfield in 1854. Its 

product is about 1,000 pounds of fine paper per day. 

This old firm of Benton & Garfield, organized in 18130 and 
continued in industry and good works until dissolved by the 
death of Mr. .Benton in 1807, deserves more than a passing 
notice for its great success. Beginning with a trilling capital 
in money, but rich in energy, it made a great reputation and 
fortune. In the beginning the members of the firm and their 
wives worked cheerfully and heartily in the mill. When Mr. 
Benton died his share of the estate amounted to a handsome 
fortune. J Ion. Harrison Garfield is president of the Lee Na- 
tional Bank, has served his state in both branches of the Leg- 
islature, and is the oldest active business paper maker in the 

In 1855 Linn & Dean built on the Lake May stream a small 
mill for making bank note paper by hand. It was afterward 
run by Elizur Smith and Mr. Linn, but it is now owned by Mr. 
Baird, who uses it in connection with his other mills. In 1802, 
while Mr. Linn was running the mill, it was discovered that he 
was making some bank note paper with the initials U C. S. A." 
in water marks upon it. A United States marshal suspected 
that the initials meant "Confederate States of America," a 
concern with which we were having some difficulty at the time 
and the officer took Mr. Linn to Boston to answer for the sup- 
posed aid and comfort he was giving the enemy in making 
paper for them upon which to print their money. Mr. Linn 
was able to show that he received the order for the goods from 
a New York house, who also furnished him the mold or ma- 
chine which made the initials water marked in the paper, and 
that he knew nothing about the purpose for which the paper 
was to be used. lie was acquitted. I believe the New York 
firm set up that their purpose was a patriotic one, as they in- 
tended to counterfeit the confederate money and ruin the credit 
of the concern by flooding their own territory with worthless 
notes. The patriotism may not be very apparent, but such was 
the excuse made. Mr. Linn is now living in New Jersey. 
The Smith Paper Company operates the Valley, Columbia, 


Rerkisldre Tlistovicdl Society. 

Eagle and Ilousatonic Mills. Sketches of all these have been 
given in what J have read, except the Columbia. This was 
originally built by the Laflins in L826. Subsequently it was 
operated by Phelps & Field, the former the late George II. 
Phelps, and the latter Matthew Field, son of Dr. J). I). Field, 
author of a history of Berkshire County, and long a settled 
minister in Stockbridge. This Lee paper maker was a brother 
of Cyrus W., David Dudley, Stephen J. and Henry M. Field, 
and Cyrus W. worked in his youth in this mill for his brother 
Matthew. Cyrus W. was afterward in the paper business in 
New York and dealt extensively with the Berkshire paper 
makers. He is remembered as very bright in the trades that 
were made of the products of the mills for the raw material. 
lie had a habit of dropping his eyelids or of closing his eyes 
during his bargaining, and if one eye only closed, the prospects 
were that the paper maker would "fare pretty well," as they 
used to say, " but if Cyrus closed both eyes, then look out for 


lie would a'et the best of the 1 


In 1863 this 

mill was bought by Mr. Smith, improved, and its capacity in- 
creased, and run until February 2, 1865, when it was burned. 
On the night of the fire Mr. Smith, just married, was receiving 
his friends, and the conflagration was made particularly memo- 
rable by that fact. News of the fire was brought to him in the 
midst of the festivities, but he quietly bade the feast go on. 
The next morning he was seen on the pile of ruins giving 
orders for clearing up the rubbish so that rebuilding could com- 
mence. The Smith Paper Company is composed of Eli/ur, 
Wellington, and DeWitt S. Smith, the two latter nephews of 
the former. The firm is the successor to Platner & Smith, 
which was formed in 1835, and was at one time during its con- 
tinuance the largest producer of writing paper in the country, 
}f not in the world. Besides the mills owned by them in. Lee 
village tliey had also the mill built by Baker & Wilson in East 
Lee, in 1838, and rented for a time the Defiance Mill in Dal- 
ton. Mr. Smith was also interested in a mill at Russell, with 
his brother, John It. Smith, and Cyrus W. Field & Co. of New 
York, and they have owned the Turkey Mill at Tyringham. 
The fine paper of Platner & Smith was known all over the 

History of Paper Making. 1 1 

United States, and the firm was a power in the business. It was 
during the time when an English or French label was demand- 
ed on nearly everything for the best American use, and Platner 
& Smith made at Lee the best "imported" paper on the mar- 
ket. The company now conducting the business, makes only 
book, news and manila wrapping paper. They own every 
water privilege on the Housatonic river between Lee and Pitts- 
field, about ten miles. They have thirty rag engines in their 
mills, of from seven hundred to eight hundred pounds capacity 
each. They use for power eleven steam engines and twenty- 
seven water-wheels, and their product per week is over one 
hundred tons. Their largest week's production was one hun- 
dred and thirty-nine tons. In connection with their mills they 
have two factories at Lenox Furnace for making wood-pulp, 
and at Lee a large and thoroughly equipped machine shop. 

South Lee. 

The first mill built in Lee, by Mr. Church, was the second 
to be built in the county, the first being erected in Dalton 
about A. D. 1800. The Lee mill was sold by Mr. Church to 
the firm of Brown & Curtis, and in 1822 it was sold again to 
Messrs. Owen & Ilurlbut. As the means of the latter linn 
increased they enterprisingly increased their business, buying 
of Billings Brown his grist mill which they converted into a 
paper mill, and they purchased other mill sites and lands for 
future use. They also bought the "forge," on the east side of 
the river, so as to control the entire water power of the vicinity, 
and on that site erected a flouring mill, which site is now cov- 
ered by the Ilurlbut Paper Company's new mill. Owen & 
Ilurlbut put in a "cylinder machine" in 1833; a calender in 
1834, and ruling machines in 1830, showing an early adoption 
of all improvements in their business. This firm also built the 
mill in Housatonic now owned by the Owen Paper Company. 
Jn 18G0 the firm dissolved, Mr. Ilurlbut retaining the property 
at South Lee, and Mr. Owen taking that at Housatonic', and 
each associated with him a son in the business. The new firms, 
as stated already, took new names, — at Housatonic, the Owen 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

Paper Company; at South Lee, the Hurlbut Paper Company. 
The founders, Mr. Hurlbut and Mr. Owen, were both born In 
1794, the former in Wethersfield, and the latter in Windsor, 
Conn. They won a grand reputation as paper manufacturers, 
and as honorable, sterling citizens of their town. The water 
mark and stamp of " (). & 11." was always a guarantee of good 
goods. Mr. Hurlbut, devoted to his occupation, cared little or 
nothing for public life, his chief delights being his family and 
his business. lie died in 1861. Mr. Owen was more pleased 
with public honors, and deserved them, lie was a major of 
militia, served in both branches of the Legislature and in the 
governor's council, lie died in 1870. The two sons of Mr. 
Hurlbut, Thomas O. and Henry C, and Daniel B. Fenn are 
his successors to the name and business of the Hurlbut Paper 
Company. Charles II. Plumb was a stockholder in this com- 
pany in 1805 and remained till 1808. llo is now the owner 
and keeper of the old and popular hotel at Stockbridge, and a 
prince of good fellows. Under their management it has pros- 
pered and greatly increased. In 1872 they built one of the 
largest and best mills in the country. It is 873 feet long, 50 
feet wide, and, including the basement and attic, four stories 
high. The whole product of their mills is 10,000 pounds of 
fine writing paper per day. 

This sketch of the origin and growth of the manufacture of 
paper in Lee, though it has been as brief as we could make it, 
leaves but little time to say anything about the men who have 
been identified with it. Their names are known and honored. 
Those who have' gone from anxieties and cares to their ever- 
lasting rest, are remembered as among the best citizens of the 
town — George "W. Platner, Caleb C. Benton, Stephen Thatch- 
er, the Churches, S. S. Ilogers, are the names of men now dead 
who have been identified with Lee's greatest growth, and to 
them a good share of praise is due for the advancement of this 
industry in the town, an industry upon which her prosperity 
so largely rests. Those living and prominent in the work still, 
Elizur Smith and his partners, Harrison Garfield, the veterans, 
Edward S. and Sylvester S. May, the Messrs. Benton, Mr. 
Baird, Mr. Gihnor and Mr. Hamlin, are known throughout 

History of Paper Milling. 13 

Berkshire, and their enterprise, public spirit and good fame 
are their best eulogy. 

Mill River. 

In 1836 a paper mill was built at Mill River, in the town of 
New Marlboro, by Wheeler & Gibson. It was burned the 
following year, and when rebuilt was located across the river 
from its first site, where it still stands, and where writing paper 
has been made by Wheeler & Gibson, Wheeler A: Sons, 
Wheeler, Sheldon & Babcock, Gibson, Crosby & Robbins, 
George "Robbins, Marlboro Paper Company, and the Brookside 
Paper Company. In 1838 or '30 John Carroll built a small 
"straw mill" on the privilege next below the Wheeler Mill. 
In 1850 he made additions, improvements and changes, and 
began the manufacture of writing paper, but soon abandoned 
it for the manufacture of printing paper made from straw, and 
this was the second mill in the country to make white paper 
from rye straw. In 1873 Mr. Carroll took into partnership 
with him James Goodwin, and they built another mill on a site 
below, which they bought from George Sheldon. These mills 
were afterward operated by the Carroll Paper Company. In 
1877 James Goodwin became sole proprietor and still runs the 
mills, making three tons of print paper per day. 

Above the old Wheeler Mill, Beach & Adams, in 1839 or 
'40, built a small mill and made printing paper. The several 
proprietors have been E. C. Brett & Co., Adams & Brett, Paul 
Face, Wheeler, Sheldon & Babcock, Gibson, Crosby & Rob- 
bins, George Rolmins, Marlboro Paper Co., and now the Brook- 
side Paper Company. 

In the same locality Messrs. Andrews, Sheldon & Adams 
built a mill for making manila paper in 1855. George Shel- 
don soon bought out his partners and ran the mill until 18(17 
when it was burned and the remains were sold to J. Carroll A: 


Previous to 1857 Henry Patten built the first mill at IIousa- 
tonic, a village in the northern part of the town of Great Bar- 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

rington, but before it had succeeded to any great extent it was 
burned. Owen & Hurlbut, of South Lee, then built a writing 
paper niill, which, in the division of tlie property at the disso- 
lution of the firm, went into the hands of the Owen Paper 
Company. Over fifteen years ago this company began the 
erection of a mammoth mill, on a site below the one just 
referred to, but it is not yet completed. When finished it will 
be a notable monument to patience and liberal expenditure of 
capital. The Owen Paper Company stock is owned by II. D. 
Cone and his wife who was the widow of Edward II. Owen. 

Sandisfield, Sheffield, Otis and Hinsdale. 

In 1852 a Mr. Daniels went to New Boston (Sandisfield) 
from Otis, where he had lost a mill by fire, and purchased a 
building that had been used in the woolen business. lie bought 
paper mill machinery on credit, having but little capital, and 
after a brief struggle he "surrendered," Tanner & Perkins of 
Lee, who had furnished machinery, taking the property. They 
ran it for about two years when it was burned and the paper 
making business was never revived in the town. 

Between 1840 and 1850 there was a paper mill in Shellield 
owned by Doten, Mansfield & Boot. The enterprise was not 
a success, however, chiefly owing to the insufficient water power. 
Of the men composing this firm, the senior member, Mr. Bart- 
lett B. Doten, is now dead. Mr. A. A. Mansfield is now prom- 
inently connected with the Mt. Holly Paper Company at Car- 
lisle, Penn., and the Mr. Boot is our present well-known high 
sheriff of the county. 

In Otis the mill referred to as having belonged to Mr. Dan- 
iels, afterward of New Boston, was built in 1850 by Benton 
& Daniels, and made wrapping paper until it was destroyed. 
In Hinsdale, in 1871, a mill was built by II. C. Carson, assisted 
by the Tracey Brothers, having two engines, a 48-inch cylinder 
machine, and made wrapping paper. It was operated about a 
year, was then burned, and has not been rebuilt. 

History of Paper Making. 15 


The first paper mill in Glendale, a village in the town of 
Stockbridge, was built in, 1850 by Frederick Perry. It was 

operated for about a year by Foot & Cole of New York, and 
subsequently by Zadoc Reuw.e, Ileuwe & Wentworth, and 
Reiiwe & Evans. In 1862 J. W. Hunter bought the mill, and 
soon tlie Hunter Paper Company was formed. In 1872 Chaf- 
fee & Cullender, the former a member of the firm of Chuff ee 
& Hamlin of Lee, and the latter, Charles E. Callender, a Lee 
druggist. They have successfully run it, adding largely to it 
until now it is one of the county's largest mills, with four 
engines of 800 pounds capacity each, one Jordan engine, an 
86-inch Fourdrinier and a 62-inch cylinder machine, and the 
product is five tons of manila paper daily. 


The Turkey Mill, at Tyringham, was built in 1S32 by Riley 
Sweet and Asa Judd, under the firm name of Sweet A: Judd. 
It had two engines, a cylinder machine, and made about 4-uQ 
pounds of paper per day. In 1838 it was bought by Ingersoll 
<k Platner, and in 1835 Elizur Smith took an interest and the 
lirm became Ingersoll, Platner & Smith. Mr. Ingersoll soon 
sold out to his partners and the mill remained Platner & Smith's 
until the former's death in 1855. In 18-19 they put in a Four- 
drinier machine and began making water-marked, first-class 
paper, which soon became known as equal to any made any- 
where in the world. By the year 1855 it had been enlarged 
and improved to a great extent, steam power was added and it 
was fitted with seven engines. A few years later it was burned. 
George Cannon subsequently rebuilt it with three engines, but 
it has not been successfully operated and is now idle. In the 
same town Ezra Heath and Joshua Boss built the Bay State 
Wrapping Mill, in 1SLG. It was afterward owned by Johnson 
& Fargo. It burned down, was rebuilt by George and John 
West; sold by them to John Trimble, burned again in 1870, 
and has not been rebuilt. 


Berkshire Historical Society. 


In South Adams, in 1 Si9, a mill was built by L. L. Drown 
and his uncles, William and Daniel Jenks. In 1857 they 
bought a stone building that bad been used as a cotton factory, 
which they converted into a paper mill. Mr. Brown is a prac- 
tical paper maker, learning the trade in Dalton, and then build- 
ing the mills according to his judgment based on his knowl- 
edge and experience. He soon won a prominent place in the 
market for his ledger papers, and no mills have had a better 
reputation for the excellence of their products. The firm owns 
and operates a mill in Cummington, besides their fine mills in 
Adams, and Mr. Brown is largely interested in the Whiting 
Paper Company of llolyoke, and in the Renfrew Manufactur- 
ing Company of Adams, lie is also interested in other busi- 
ness enterprises, is one of the most successful paper manufac- 
turers the county has had, and he is personally greatly esteemed 
throughout Western Massachusetts. 

The ISouth Adams Paper Company are operating a mill built 
about 18G7, by Richardson, Upton & Dean. It was run by the 
builders for a time, on first-class papers, but owing to some 
disagreement among the partners it was stopped and eventually 
sold to the venerable Gen. William C. Plunkett, Mr. Thomas 
II. Ilurlbut of New York, and Mr. Amory Taylor of Hinsdale. 
It is now owned principally by Gen. Plunkett and his family. 


In 184:9 Wilson, Osborne & Dean built a two-engine mill in 
Pittslield, near the Dalton line, and made writing paper. Colt 
& Gibbs were the next owners, and afterward the late lion. 
Thomas Colt. The mill was originally an old tannery. In 
1802 Mr. Colt erected a new mill and made collar paper until 
he failed in 1873. The mill was run for a short time under 
lease to the Chalmers Brothers & Baxter, but was soon idle 
again and remained so until sold a few months since to Crane 
& Co. of Dalton, who are making there the paper for the 
United States currency, bonds, etc. 

History of Paper Making, 17 


To Dalton belongs the honor and renown of making the first 
paper produced in Berkshire, where the best kinds of paper 
ever have been and still eontinne to be made. In the year 
1700 Henry Wiswall, Zenas Crane and John Willard began 
paper mill building and got their mill into operation in 1801. 
The site is now oeenpied by the Carson mill. This pioneer 
firm made about twenty tons per annum until 1807. Then 
Wiswall & Carson succeeded to the business, continuing until 
1810. Since that year the mill has been rebuilt several times, 
burned once but soon lifted from the ashes, and has been prin- 
cipally managed and owned by the Carson family except for a 
short time when the Powers Paper Company, afterwards the 
Powers & Brown Paper Company (L. J. Powers, of Spring- 
field, and Charles O. Brown, of Dalton), owned it. It has 
grown from a one-vat hand mill located in the woods, to a 
grand structure containing seven engines, making two tons of 
lirst-class paper per day. David Carson, who came to Dalton 
about the year 1800, was one of the original hand paper makers, 
and his sons, Thomas G., William W. and David J., were 
brought up in the business, and were considered among the 
best of their trade in the country. The father, after retiring, 
removed to Pittsfield, where he died in 185S, aged 75 years, 
being at the time of his death president of the Pittsfield Bank. 

In 1800 Zenas Crane, in company with Joseph Chamberlin 
and Mr. Wiswall, built "the old red mill," which did service 
nearly sixty years, and then disappeared in flame and smoke. 
ft was never rebuilt. In 18-i-t Crane cfe Co. (lion. Z. M. & J. 
B.), sons of Zenas, built a stone mill near the then still stand- 
ing old red mill. This went out of existence by lire in 1870, 
and on its site stands their now substantial stone structure built 
as soon as possible after its predecessor disappeared. This mill 
lirst made paper for paper collars. It is now making bond, 
bank note, parchment and similar papers. 

In 1850 Crane and Wilson bought the Ashuelot woolen fac- 
tory and soon had it running as a paper mill. The active 
partners were Seymour Crane and James AVilson, succeeded by 


18 Berkshire Historical Society. 

Crane, Martin & Co. For some years the mill was idle, but in 
1804, Z. Crane, Jr., bought the property and ran it until L877, 
when it was burned. Z. Crane, ejr., & Brother rebuilt it and 
it is now one of the best seven engine mills, making card and 
Bristol boards and note paper. The original Zenas Crane, like 
Mr. Carson, was a practical paper maker and was one of I3a 1- 
ton's leading citizens, lie held many public offices and was 
regarded with high esteem in the community. lie died in 

The old Defiance Mill was built by David Carson in 1821, 
sold to Henry Chamberlin in 1840, by whom it was operated 
or rented to others until 1863. Meanwhile it has been burnt 
once but immediately reconstructed. In 1863 it was bought 
by Byron Weston, who has greatly enlarged it, and it is now- 
turning out record and ledger papers. This mill was originally 
a one-vat, one-engine mill, making "twenty posts" of one 
hundred and twenty -six sheets, or about five reams of paper a 
day. Its capacity now is two tons. 

Most of the younger Chamberlins, John, Albert and Ezekiel, 
learned the paper business in this mill, and it has often been 
said that the spring water was so good that the mill always 
made good paper regardless of the management. In 1855 
Captain A. S. Chamberlin built a paper mill on the privilege 
in the center of Dalton village, and known as the oldest mill 
power in town, formerly occupied by the " water mill," so 
called because the grist mill upon it was run by water power 
under the toll system. This mill was owned and operated by 
Chamberlin & Mitchell and James "Wilson until 1867, when it 
was bought by the late Gen. W. F. Bartlett and Capt. Edwin 
Moodie, commander of a Cunard steamer. Col. Walter Cut- 
ting subsequently bought Captain Moodie' s interest, and the 
mill was run by Bartlett & Cutting until 1875, when it was 
destroyed by fire. The ruins were bought subsequently by 
Byron Weston, who has built on its site a seven-engine mill 
which is running as a rag department for the seven-engine 
Defiance Mill near by. 

This history, which has been thus far one of building, burn- 
ing and rebuilding, covers, I believe, a sketch of every paper 

History of Paper Making. 10 

mill in the county, and a tracing of their fate, their extension, 
and the present condition, of what is left of them, of every 
paper mill Berkshire county has known. At present the paper 
mills of the county are at Lee, South Lee, Glendale, Adams, 
Daltoii, Housatonic, and Mill River. The daily product of all 
the mills is, as near as I can estimate it, sixty-five tons. 

Tn the Olden Times. 

The paper makers of the old times, could he distinguished 
from other classes of workmen by their big, red hands, the 
result of dipping their hands continually into the warm water 
and pulp, and by their stooping, round shoulders, caused by 
constantly bending over the vat. They were, or many of them, 
as veritable tramps, though not as vicious as those of to-day. 
They traveled about the country from mill to mill, assisted by 
their fellow craftsmen until they found employment (a condi- 
tion some of them, I fear, did not relish). Within the past 
decade the tramping paper maker lias become scarce, however, 
and he is no more found loitering around the mills. Of course 
many paper makers had steady work as now, and among such 
veterans are James Wilson and James Reed, living in Dalton, 
enjoying a ripe old age among their children and grandchildren. 

It was a great accomplishment to be a good " vat man," one 
who could hold the mold with its fiber and water level, and 
thus make a perfect sheet of paper, of uniform thickness. The 
men of the mills, in those days, began work early in the morn- 
ing, stopping for breakfast and particularly taking a rest at 
" grog time," about eleven o'clock in the forenoon. A day's 
work was u twenty post," which was generally finished early in 
the afternoon and then resort was had to the village tavern. 
Most of the banks and some business houses owned their own 
molds and water marks, and when paper was wanted by them 
the mold was sent to the mill, the order filled from it, and it 
was returned to be kept until wanted again. 

The mills of the period were very simple, unpretending 
affairs. All that was wanted was a mere shed-like building, 
with water power enough to run a water wheel and paper 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

engine in which the nigs were reduced to pulp. The rest of 
the outfit consisted of a vat out of which the pulp was dipped 
upon the mold, felts and screw press to press out the water, a 
tub into which to dip the paper for sizing, some poles on which 
to hang it for drying and loft room where it could ho hung. 
The paper was rough on the surface, with irregular edges and 
was dark in color. 


The Im 


After John Ames, of Springfield, invented the cylinder 
machine in 1822 to take the place of the hand molds, changes 
and improvements in paper making multiplied rapidly* The 
old hand mill disappeared from the landscape, and new, well- 
built mills began to rise. At first the revolving mold, or cyl- 
inder, was turned by hand in the vat, and the wet web of paper 
was taken off by an endless felt running between rollers that 
pressed the water out, leaving the paper sufficiently strong, or 
dry, to be wound upon a "drum," from which, after a thickness 
of four or five inches had accumulated, it was cut by a large 
knife, or saw blade, then divided into wads or packs of sheets 
of the desired size. These sheets were taken to the loft, hung 
upon ropes or poles, and allowed to remain until dried by the 
atmosphere. The felt used with the cylinder machine was 
continually getting filled with the pulp and spoiling the paper. 
After a few hours' "run" the felt had to be removed and 
washed, which was a great trouble and loss of time. One day, 
at South Lee, William Cole, foreman for Owen & Ilurlbut, 
wishing to make a few more sheets before stopping to wash his 
felt, thought of sprinkling it copiously with water on one side 
and beating it with a whip on the other side, as it was still 
running. The experiment was a success. This simple expe- 
dient resulted in the felt washer, or beater, and made the cyl- 
inder machine what it was intended to be. The next addition 
to the labor saving machinery for paper making was the 
"dryer," to dry the paper in the web, or the continuous sheet. 
The fire dryer was an iron cylinder, generally ten feet in diam- 
eter, in which was suspended a stove, accessible, so that the 

History of Paper Making. 21 

stove could be replenished with wood and kept heated, through 
a door in the head of the cylinder. Harrison Garfield, of Lee, 
used one of these dryers until a comparatively recent time. Jn 
1830 Phelps & Spafford of Connecticut, manufacturers of 
paper machinery, constructed a very complete machine with 
making cylinder, press rolls, steam-drying cylinder reels ami 
cutter all connected, taking the pulp at one end of the machine 
room and making the paper, drying it, cutting it into sheets of 
the desired size, in fact, turning out paper ready for finishing 
or packing at the other end of the machine. This Yankee 
invention and combination was, and is still, ahead of any other 
invention in the world for making paper rapidly and economi- 
cally* About the same time the Fourdrinier machine had been 
perfected in England, though invented in France, and England 
was sending the machines to this country and to all parts of 
Europe. Though not as fast or economical as the cylinder the 
Fourdrinier makes better paper, as it shakes the fibers of the 
pulp so that they are crossed or "felted," while the cylinder 
lays the fiber all one way, making the paper strong in one 
direction across the sheet, but weak the other way. The Four- 
drinier, named after its inventor, has therefore taken the place 
of nearly all the cylinders that were so many years in use for 
making the better kinds of paper. 

During the ten years between 1830 and 184-0, still other 
great inventions were perfected, the American paper makers 
leading all foreign competition. After the cylinder machine, 
felt washers, etyi., were proven successes, the Ameses of Spring- 
field produced the steam dryer, then the cylinder washer in the 
rag engine, the machine for sizing paper in the web, and, in 
1857, the size rolls to size paper without "felt" or " jackets. v 
John Ames also invented the "loiotter" or pulp dresser, and, 
I think, the calender and trimming press. In fact, to John 
Ames of Springfield more than to any other one paper maker, 
is the trade indebted for its improvement and advancement. 
L. D. Brown of Lee conceived the idea of placing the Ames 
size rollers one above the other, instead of running them side 
by side, which was an improvement. X. M. Crane, of Dalton, 
invented a "lay boy," the instrument which takes the paper 

22 Berkshire Historical Society. 

from the machine, and a similar one was invented about the 
same time by George L. Wright of West Springfield. Joseph 
K. Kneeland of Northampton invented the present wet paper 

lay hoy, and it lias superseded all others for handling wet paper. 
The Wright ruling machine was patented hy George L. Wright 
in 1842. 

In 1848 E. & S. May of Lee made great discoveries and 
improvements in the use of smalts or ground glass and ultra- 
marine in coloring, and in adapting the Fourdrinier machine 
to the manufacture of writing paper. The decade from 184*) 
to 1850 brought the manufacture of writing paper in the United 
States up to its present perfection. I claim that no improve- 
ment in the quality that could be and was made in 1850 has 
been reached, and there has been but little, if any improvement 
in the machinery used in producing writing paper since 1830, 
thirty years ago. This is a statement that may call out a dif- 
ference of opinion, but I am ready to show that in 1850 E. & 
S. May of Lee, the Laflins of Herkimer, K. Y., and Platnertfe 
Smith of Lee, made as handsome wove or laid or water marked 
by letter, white and blue Congress letter paper ruled and 
stamped and neatly packed, as any that can be found to-day. 
In fact, even earlier, in 1848, E. & S. May were successfully 
running a Fourdrinier machine, with pulp dresser, dandy rolls, 
press rolls, steam dryer, slitters, size rolls, cutter and lay boy, 
as continuous and complete as the mills of 1880, and made as 
nice paper as can be made at the present time. The Laflins of 
Herkimer were at the same time making as handsome and as 
good blue and white or tinted, laid or woven, or water marked 
goods as are made now. The machinery of 1850 brought the 
paper through all its stages to the u lay off," precisely as it does 
in this year of our Lord, 1880. The machinery may not have 
been so effective or convenient to run, but the paper-engine, 
and making process, has not changed in its work, and it then 
made as clean and perfect paper as the products of the present 

I do think improvement has been made in the quality of 
book papers, engine-sized writing papers, ledger, record, bond 
and bank-note papers, and such special ties, but none, as 1 be- 

History of Paper Making. 23 

lieve, in the regular line of writing papers, .such as letter, note, 
caps and folios. 


It might come within the scope of this paper to give some 
statistics as to the n amber of employes in this business in the 
county, the capital invested, the raw material brought here and 
manufactured into this great product, but J must have wearied 
you already. We know that thousands of families are sup- 
ported by their earnings in it ; that it pays great taxes for the 
public treasury ; that its freightage is by no means a small 
contribution to the dividends of our railroads, and, finally, in 
every part of old Berkshire the business is in the hands of 
sterling, upright men, loving and honoring their work, their 
towns and their county. 




Ninety-two years ago, on the hanks of the Mississippi River, 

where St. Louis now stands, with its mammoth storehouses, 
magnificent public buildings, and nearly half a million of in- 
habitants — then a mere trading post, with a little cluster of log 
cabins and cheap houses to shelter the traders from the heat of 
summer and the driving winds of winter — there was to be scon 
a party of thirty persons, under the direction of Captain Lewis 
and Captain Clark, constructing three rough flat-bottom boats, 
one of twenty-two, one of seven, and one of six oars, in which, 
with their supplies, they were to ascend and explore the Mis- 
souri River, and all the vast unknown region drained by its 
waters, now estimated to be 518,000 square miles of territory. 
Truly an insignificant outfit for so great an undertaking! 

Capt. Merriweather Lewis was born in Virginia, August 
17th, 1774. lie enlisted as a volunteer in the troops called 
out to suppress the Whisky Insurrection in Pennsylvania in 
1705, and became captain in 1800. Capt. William Clark was 
born in Virginia, August 1st, 1770. lie entered the army as 
a private, at the age of eighteen, and spent six or seven years 
in active service, engaged in a crusading warfare against the 
Indians. He was made Lieutenant, March 7th, 1702, became 
Quartermaster in 1703, and served till 1706, when he resigned. 

Thomas Jefferson, coming to the Presidency March 4th, 
1801, selected Captain Lewis to be his private secretary. On 
the 30th of April, 1803, Jefferson, through his accredited 
agents and ministers, bought of the French nation a large farm, 
and his practical eye selected these two young men, Lewis and 
Clark, to look it, over. His instructions were very explicit, to 
examine minutely into the condition, traditions, and peculiar 
characteristics of the Indian tribes, the physical geography of 



Berks/live Historical Society. 

the country, its rivers, mountains, temperature, animals, min- 
erals, and vegetable products, and to make report of their do- 
ings and findings to Congress. 

A herculean task was before them; but these brave men 
comprehended the magnitude of the undertaking, and entered 
upon their work with heroic zeal and patriotic purpose. 

Lewis was the scientific and Clark the military director of 
the expedition, both by fitness and common consent, but Lewis 
was senior officer, to whom instructions were committed. 

Completing their outfit at St. Louis, they slipped their moor- 
ings, swung their floating craft out into the Mississippi River, 
and pulled up stream to the mouth of the Missouri River, 
about. twenty miles above St. Louis. 

Here they met with an obstacle not anticipated. The com- 
mandant of a Spanish post at that place, in conformity with 
the policy of his government, refused to let the expedition 
pass, and they retired to the opposite shore of the Mississippi 
River, within the unquestioned jurisdiction of the United 
States, and communicated the cause of their delay to the Pres- 
ident at Washington. The difficulties of communication at 
that early date were so great, that they were obliged to go into 
winter quarters where they were, in sight of the Spanish flag 
that proclaimed the omnipotence of the Spanish government 
over all of the territory beyond. 

At the time of which we speak, the western boundary of the 
United States was the Mississippi River, and the Spanish flag 
floated over the territory west of that river from the British 
Possessions on the north to Brazil on the south. 

The southern boundary of the United States was the 31st 
parallel of latitude, and the Spanish Floridas occupied all the 
intervening country below that line from the Atlantic coast to 
the Mississippi River, completely shutting off the American 
people from all communication with the Gulf. 

About forty years before this period, seven years of bloody 
war had come to an end in Europe, in 1702. Victory had 
perched upon the English banners both upon land and upon 
sea, in Europe and America. Quebec had surrendered to the 
victorious army of General AVolfe in 175'J, and soon after the 


The Louisiana Purchase. '2\) 

French government ceded to the British crown all of her Can- 
adian possessions stretching westward from the waters of the 
St. Lawrence, acknowledging the supremacy of England over 
the Canadian Provinces. 

A few years, later, November 3d, 1702, France ceded to 
Spain "that portion of the Province of Louisiana lying east of 
the Mississippi River and the City of New Orleans;" and on 
the 13th of the same month, by a separate transaction, ceded 
"the said country and colony of Louisiana, and the posts there- 
on depending, likewise the City and Island of New Orleans, to 
Spain,'' thereby parting with her entire American dominions. 

Shortly after, Spain, February 10, 1703, ceded to England 
all of her American possessions east of the Mississippi River, 
except the town of New Orleans, and we were exposed to be 
harassed by a British army upon the north and south, and by 
her navy on the east. British exactions culminated in the 
stirring events of the devolution. The disasters of that war 
so embarrassed England in the control of Florida, that, in 1783, 
the government ceded it back to Spain, and the Spanish Hag 
once more floated from the eastern coast of Florida to the 
Pacific. October 1st, 1800, Spain, by a secret treaty, trans- 
ferred "the Colony or Province of Louisiana back to France, 
with no restrictions as to limits, but with her ancient bounda- 
ries as they were when France in 1 762 had ceded the province 
to Spain." 1 

October 10, 1802, two years after the cession, Don Morales, 
Spanish intendant of Louisiana, issued a proclamation prohib- 
iting the further use by the citizens of the United States of the 
City of New Orleans as a place of deposit for merchandise, and 
free transit for our ships down the river to the sea. 

December 15, 1802, President Jefferson notified Congress of 
the secret transfer of Louisiana by Spain back to France, and 
of the Spanish proimnciamento, prohibiting American citizens 
from using" the wharves of New Orleans. 

Great excitement ensued throughout the country. Congress 
remonstrated against the manifesto, and the Western States 
threatened to resist the edict by force rather than submit to its 




Berkshire Historical Society. 

January 10, 1803, James Monroe was appointed special 
Minister Plenipotentiary and Envoy Extraordinary, and directed 
to proceed at once to Paris, to act in concert with our Minis- 
ters, Livingston at Paris and Pinckney at Spain, for the pur- 
pose of negotiating a treaty, and securing commercial privileges 
at New Orleans. Congress granted $2,000,000 for the pur- 
poses of this mission. 

At that time war clouds were again hanging thick and threat- 
ening over England and France. England was arrogant and 
powerful. France was humiliated and in want of money. 
England was preparing to seize the French possessions in 
America, which had two years before been ceded back by 
Spain to France, and New Orleans and the Mississippi River 
were the objective points of attack. Twenty ships from the 
British navy were cruising in the Gulf of Mexico off the mouth 
of the river, waiting for the conflict. Napoleon was alive; to 
the situation, and resolved to checkmate England in her plan 
to obtain the coveted prize. 

Accordingly, on the 10th of April, 1803, Napoleon announced 
to two of his counselors, that he had determined to sell his 
American possessions to the United States, which had so gal- 
lantly defeated the English in the Revolutionary war. Jlis 
startling proposition met with opposition. The next day lie 
held audience with them again, and when the latest dispatches 
were read, it was then and there decided that war with Eng- 
land was inevitable, that money was needed to carry it on, that 
they could not hold their American territory against England 
— and the only alternative being an immediate sale of the 
country for money, or a seizure without it, they resolved to 

Livingston, our Minister at Paris, was apprised of this propo- 
sition, but it so far exceeded the limits of his instructions, that 
he could not negotiate without authority from Washington. 
To communicate with Washington, and obtain a reply, would 
occupy about three months. Such a delay would be hazardous 
to the interests of France and the United States. But the new 
Minister, James Monroe, was already on his way to Paris, and 
fortunately arrived there April 12th, 1S03. The proposition 


The Louisiana P'U/rchase. 31 

was submitted to him, and though it exceeded his instruction.-, 
he took the responsibility of making the treaty, and it was 
signed April 30th, 1803. It stipulated that the United States 
should pay 80,000,000 francs; and, as part of the same transac- 
tion, twenty million francs should he applied by the United 
States, at Washington, to the payment of certain claims owed 
by Prance to American citizens, if they should amount to that 
sum. The amount finally agreed upon was $3,738,268.98. 

The whole sun actually paid was in round numbers $l(y 
000,000 — less than two cents for each one hundred acres of 
land conveyed. 

Never before was a treaty between National Powers hurried 
to conclusion so rapidly. The matter was conducted so secretly 
and expeditiously, that the Minister of England at Paris knew 
nothing of the negotiations till after the treaty was signed. 
On learning that fact, he at once demanded his passports and 
left for England. 

The French Ambassador at the Court of St. James also took 
his passport and left. These two eminent men, between whom 
ties of personal friendship existed, on their way to their re- 
spective governments met at Dover, amid the shadows of the 
great calamity, which each felt was soon to break upon the 
world in terrible reality. 

The events which followed need no description here. The 
clash of arms between these two great powers and their allies 
shook the world from center to circumference. Napoleon, 
who had carried the eagles of France in triumph through a 
hundred battles, went down in the conflict at Waterloo, and 
the Iron Duke mounted the pedestal of fame, as the conquer- 
ing hero of the world* The armies of England and her allies 
dictated terms of peace and conquest in the French Capital, 
and Napoleon, a prisoner of State, on the 8th of August, 1815, 
turned his face in banishment from the city and people he 
loved so well, and went into exile at St. Helena, to behold them 
no more forever. 

The light of his life went out May 15, 1821, and his bones 
rested on the wave-washed shores of St. Helena, till 1S40, when 
they were brought back to his beloved Paris, amid triumphal 


Berkshire TTistorical Society. 


arches, and the plaudits and pieans of a nation devoted to his 


Americans who visit his tomb should remember that it was 
his act that gave us the title deeds to the greatest real-estate 
transaction ever recorded. The ''Louisiana Purchase" was 
hardly second in importance to the Declaration of Independ- 
ence, in the history of our government. 

Although Spain had ceded the Colony or Province of Louisi- 
ana tack to France two years before France ceded it to the 
United States, yet France had never taken formal possession of 
any part of it. Not a Spanish flag had been lowered, or a 
French flag raised anywhere, to indicate that there had been a 
change of national sovereignty or of national supremacy. Even 
at New Orleans, Spanish rule continued, and we had paid 
tribute for the right to deposit our products and merchandise 
for export and import, and for the right of ingress and egress 
to the Mississippi River, and even those rights had been sus- 
pended by Spain in an imperious, arrogant manner, without 
protest from France. Spanish rule had become odious to the 
American people, especially to those living in the Western 
States, and they chafed for deliverance from their exactions 
and prohibitions. Congress was even debating the question of 
removing them by force of arms, and of seizing New Orleans. 
A crisis would have been precipitated but for the cool, calcu- 
lating, far-reaching wisdom of Jefferson, who had plans for a 
peaceable acquisition, not then divulged to the public ear. Hut 
Jefferson could not long have kept the people quiet, if the 
treaty had not been- made. Spanish restrictions and the geo- 
graphical lines favored an enterprise for the conquest of the 
country, and the people were ripe for the undertaking. Eng- 
land was also about to attempt the seizure; and England and 
America would have contended for the prize, as they after- 
wards did in the war which culminated in victory for our forces 
under Gen. Jackson, January Sth, 1815, which saved New 
Orleans and the river from British interference. 

The treaty having arrived in this country July 1st, 1803, 
President Jefferson called an extra session of Congress, which 
assembled October 17th, 1803; and two days after, ratified the 


The Louisiana Purchase. 33 

treaty, clothing Jefferson with authority to enforce it. He 
lost no time in taking, possession, and proclaiming the sove- 
reignty of the United States over it as fast as events would 
justify. The ships, on the eoast, carrying the figure-head 
of the British Lion on their hows, and flying the flag of St. 
George at the mast head, ready to seize New Orleans and all 
other French American territory, retreated from the Gulf 
without a shot, at the sight of the American flag, and New 
Orleans was ours. England had lost her opportunity, and 
America had gained it. 

In the mean time, the Spanish officials, at the mouth of the 
Missouri river and other points in the territory, had been noti- 
fied that they were no longer needed to stand sentinel at the 
opening gate-way of a country larger in extent than Spain and 
[{Vance together, and that the United States had acquired pos- 
session of all the vast realm beyond, to provide homes for its 
rapidly increasing family. Accordingly, .Lewis and Clark now 
received instructions to move on ; and on the 4th of May. I S04 
armed with passports from foreign ministers, and hacked by 
the United States Government, they again started on their 
mission, passed without opposition the Spanish post, where the 
autumn before they had been turned back; and, bidding fare- 
well to civilization, entered the unknown country, to open up 
to the eye of civilization the value of the " Louisiana Purchase." 

The Territory covered by this "Purchase" was of vast ex- 
tent and undefined proportions. Not a boundary line was 
given or referred to in the treaty, and the only reference to 
the locus in quo was "the Colony or Province of Louisiana 
with the same extent it now has in the hands of Spain, and 
that it had when Prance possessed it, and such as it should be 
after the treaties subsequently entered into between Spain and 
other States." 

Could language make anything more ambiguous and uncer- 
tain? At first it was supposed that the treatyand cession car- 
ried all the Floridas, but Spain claimed the Floridas under 
conquest and cession from Great Britain, and refused to sur- 
render possession ; but did surrender New Orleans and the 
Province of Louisiana to France, November 30th, 1801), only 


"Berkshire Historical Society. 

twenty days before France formally surrendered them to the 
Government of the United States. • John Quincy Adam.-, 
Henry Clay, Martin Van Bnren, 'J nomas II. Benton, and other 
able statesmen claimed that the treaty covered Florida ami the 
whole of Texas to the Rio Grande. But this claim was denied 
by Spain. 

The American Government claimed that the purchase em- 
braced all the Northern portion of the country bordering the 
British possessions f v om the Mississippi River to tjie Pacific 
Ocean. This claim was on the strength of the French explo- 
rations by Marquette in 1663 on the Mississippi River from 
Canada to the Gulf followed by French explorations of the 
river and country under Lasalle in 1680. 

The United States also set up an independent claim to the 
Oregon country, based, firstj upon its original discovery by 
Captain Robert Gray, an American navigator, who discovered 
and sailed up the Columbia River in 1791, giving to the river 
the name of his ship: secondly, upon the fact that a trading- 
post had been established by Americans on Snake River, west 
of the mountains, in 1SOS, and thirdly, that another trading- 
post had been established at Astoria, in Oregon, by John Jacob 
Astor, who gave the town his own name. 

Thus the discovery of Oregon by Americans had been fol- 
lowed up by actual settlements in the country. 

These claims to the Oregon country were denied by Spain, 
which contended that all the region west of the mountains was 
Spanish Territory, stretching from Mexico to the British pos- 
sessions, basing their rights on prior discovery, and the fact that 
Spanish settlements had been made on the Pacific Slope. 

Which of the two claims was the stronger, and the better 
founded in national or international law, in fact or in presump 
tion, we need not discuss. The subject of the boundaries, and 
the right of national supremacy in the Oregon country, in 
Texas, and the complicated relations in the Spanish F'loridas, 
were matters of grave dispute and serious concern between 
Spain and the United States, to be settled either by the arbi- 
trament of war or by diplomacy. General Jackson, in his hot 
chase after the Seminole Indians, followed them with his army, 

The Louisiana Purchase. .",5 

without the orders or consent of his government, across our 
Southern boundary into Florida in 1 S 1 S, where he burned 
Spanish towns, shot Spanish subjects upon Spanish soil, seized 
a trader at a Spanish post and an Englishman — court-mar- 
tialed them, hung one upon the yard-arm of an English vessel 
of which lie was an officer, — riddled the other with American 
bullets, as he sat upon his coffin with arms piuioned and eyes 
bandaged, captured Spanish forts along the gulf, and garrisoned 
them with American forces. England, Spain, and other for- 
eign powers were greatly exasperated over what was deemed a 
flagrant violation of national compact, and international law, 
by Jackson in this raid and murder upon foreign soil. 

War with Spain was imminent, and England threatened 
retaliation for the murder of her subjects upon Spanish soil, 
and was contemplating an alliance with Spain for offensive 
operations against the United States. 

Bitter feelings and divided sentiment among eminent states- 
men in Congress also sprung up over the lawless acts of Jack- 
son, which crystallized into political parties, that lasted while 
Jackson lived, and lived after Jackson died. 

James Monroe, who secured the treaty with France, was then 
President of the United States, and his practical wisdom did 
much to keep clown the turbulent elements of political animos- 
ities, and guide the affairs of State into a channel of peaceful 
deliverance from threatened danger. Knowing the absence of 
definite boundaries, the inherent obscurities and patent ambi- 
guities in the Articles of cession which conveyed the purchase, 
Monroe regarded the matter of sufficient importance for nego- 
tiation and compromise. Negotiations were opened, and to 
secure a final adjustment of all difficulties between Spain and 
the United States, a Treaty was formed, February 22d, 1S19, 
and ratified February 22d, 1822, by which we gave up our 
claim to Texas from the Sabine to the Rio Grande, and Spain 
gave up Florida and abandoned all the rights that she had 
claimed to the North land, west of the mountains. Our release 
of Texan territory was regarded by many as an unnecessary 
surrender to Spanish demands, but the settlement freed us 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

from complications which Spain could not overlook, and our 
Government could not justify. 

The acquisition of Florida not only added to our national 
domain a territory more than seven times larger than Massa- 
chusetts, hut gave us an unbroken line of sea coast from Nova 
Scotia on the north to the Sahine Pass on the south, with no 
foreign waters washing our shores, and no unfriendly settle- 
ments to embarrass our commerce. 

Thus a full settlement of our boundary lines and border dif- 
ficulties was effected. The soil of Florida, moistened by Span- 
ish and English blood spilled by Jackson, peacefully passed 
under the flag of the United States, and Spanish grievances 
were ended. 

England, learning the turn that events had taken with Spain, 
blustered for a while, then bandaged the eyes of her Lions, and 
we were at peace with all the world, with a country united 
from the Lakes to the Gulf, and from the Atlantic to the 

Jackson was rewarded for his audacity, made United States 
Senator from Tennessee, and then President of the United 
States from 1S29 to 1S37; and tradition lias it, that there were 
people who continued to vote for him for that oflice long after 
his death, June 8th, 1S-L5. 

The extent of the territory embraced in the Louisiana pur- 
chase is but little known, understood, or comprehended by the 
people of this country to-day. It is a territory larger in extent 
than the thirteen original States of the Union, it is greater in 
agricultural resources, it is richer in mineral wealth, it has a 
greater variety of climate and soil. Its mountains are the 
largest and most magnificent in grandeur on the continent, its 
scenery is the finest, its natural curiosities the most remarkable 
in the country; .and its river courses are the longest in the 

This whole territory was shut up in seclusion, with its soli- 
tudes unbroken, except by the war whoop of the Indian, and 
the growl of wild beasts echoing through the forests. The 
buffalo and wild horse roamed at will over its vast prairies; the 
stately elk, the timid deer, and the sprightly antelope, chewed 

77w Louisiana Purchase. ."»T 

their cuds in contentment. The hear and the wolf were, nion- 
archs of the forest, and snapped their tooth at settlers as they 
reared their rude cabins in the wilderness. The heaver built 
its dams, and the otter gambolled in its waters unmolested. 
Feathered game and feathered songsters reared their young 
undisturbed, and caroled their songs upon morning air, laden 
with the perfumes of eternal summer. Tropical fruits ripened 
and dropped in abundance upon the land at one extremity, 
while icy chains locked the water springs, and covered the 
earth with snowy mantles at the other; gentle breezes from 
grassy plains, and sea air from salted waves, swept the land, 
over a region of country stretching from the Gulf to the Lakes, 
and the Lakes to the Pacific Ocean, a country large enough for 
an empire, and rich enough for the ambition of kings. 

[n the history that we are so rapidly making, in the marvel- 
ous achievements that we are familiar with, it is well to remem- 
ber the beginnings, that we may the better appreciate results. 
The human mind is aided in comprehending magnitudes by 
familiar comparisons. 

To this end we will call attention to the fact that Connecti- 
cut has only a territorial area of 4,990 square miles; Massachu- 
setts 8,315; and the State of New York 49,170 square miles. 

Now, the "Louisiana Purchase," excluding Texas, embraced 
a territorial area 260 times larger than Connecticut; 15') times 
larger than Massachusetts, and 20 times larger than New York. 

What have we done with this magnificent empire farm, pur- 
chased 87 years ago? 

In 1812, we admitted Louisiana as a State into the Union, 
with 48,720 square miles. 

In 1821, we admitted Missouri, with 09,415 square miles. 

In 1836, we admitted Arkansas, with 52,250 square miles. 

In 1845, we admitted Iowa, with 50,025 square miles, and 
the same year admitted Florida with 58,6S0 square miles. 

In 185S, we admitted Minnesota, with 83,305 square miles. 

In 1801, we admitted Kansas, with 82,080 square miles. 

In 1807, we admitted Nebraska, with 70,855 square miles. 

In 187<>, we admitted Colorado, with 103,925 square miles. 
A portion of this State, lying west of the Rocky Mountains, 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

was not included in the Louisiana Purchase, but was obtained 
by the "Gaudalupe Hidalgo Treaty" which gave us Utah, 
Arizona, etc. So we will put down for Colorado only 60,000 
square miles as obtained bythe "Purchase." 

February 22, 1889, at one dash of' the pen, we admitted 
North and South Dakota, with an aggregate area of 150,932 
square miles, and Montana, with L46,0S0 square miles. 

Wyoming with 97,890 square miles was admitted into the 
Union in 1800. 

Twelve great States, eaeb nearly double the size of New 
York, have already been admitted into the Union out of terri- 
tory east of the Rocky Mountains; and we have in addition, 
the Indian Territory, with 64,690 square miles, and the Yel- 
lowstone, or National Park, with 3,575 square miles. 

The strip of land, like an index-finger pointing westward, 
seen on the map of the Indian Territory, was coded by Texas 
to the United States, December 13, 1850. Call the Indian 
Territory 55,000 square miles under the Purchase. 

There was also taken from Florida south of the 31st parallel 
of latitude 2,300 square miles to be added to Alabama, and 
also 3,600 square miles which was added to Mississippi to give 
to those two States a water front upon the Gulf of Mexico. 

In the territory west of the mountains, we have Oregon, with 
96,030 square miles, admitted into the Union as a State in 1850; 
Washington, with 69,994 square miles, which was admitted as 
a State, February 22, 1889; and Idaho, with 84,800 square 
miles, admitted into the Union as a State in 1890; making 
lifteen States already admitted out of the Louisiana Purchase. 

Whether all these political divisions of territory west of the 
mountains and Florida were actually embraced in the Louisiana 
Purchase or not, that Purchase was the key that confirmed our 
title, and gave us quiet possession of a land that receives the 
last golden baptism of the sun, ere he sinks behind the billows 
of the Pacific ; and also gave us the land of flowers and tropi- 
cal fruits, in the Peninsula of Florida. 

We. have discussod this matter as though there might be a 
shadow of doubt as to whether this North Land, west of the 
mountains was included in the Louisiana Purchase. An emi- 

The Louisiana Purchase. 39 

nent historian gives the crest of the Rocky Mountains as the 
western boundary of the " Purchase," but the first time we find 
that boundary line mentioned, is in our treaty with Spain in 
161 C J, when we were settling disputes and difficulties- growing 
out of disputed boundaries and other complicated relations. 

The Congressional Records compiled in 1884, which describe 
the publie domain that we have acquired by treaties, cessions, 
and conquests, after careful investigation and analysis of each, 
classify these three political divisions Oregon, Washington, and 
Idaho as embraced within the Louisiana Purchase.* 

Take another fact. Remove all the 65,000,000 people of 
the United States, into the States and Territories covered by 
the " Louisiana Purchase," and it would give less than 50 per- 
sons to the square mile, while the census of 1880 gives Connec- 
ticut one hundred and thirty-three. Massachusetts two hundred 
and twenty-eight, and the State of New York one hundred and 
six to the square mile. 

Let us now go hack to our starting point, a period of time 
covered by the memory of men living to-day, an inconsiderable 
period in the history of a nation, and behold the rapid strides 
we have made, in all the physical realities of life. Take one 
more look at the little band of explorers, toiling up at the 
expense of sinews of llesh and blood, paddling, wading, push- 
ing and pulling their rough boats up the turbulent waters of 
the Missouri, filled with snags and sand-bars, its hanks lined 
with trees and tangle wood, and follow them in imagination as 
they overcome one obstable just in time to encounter another, 
stopping where night overtakes them to gather strength for 

*Wc find on -examination of "Congressional Records" concerning this 
North Land, the following bit of history. 

"The French, prior to the sale of the Province of Louisiana and pos- 
sessions to the United States, claimed the country south of the British 
possessions and west of the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, by 
reason of discovery and exploration of the Mississippi River. This claim 
the United States, being the successor of France, also urged and stood 

"The United States held an independent claim to that portion of the 
Louisiana Purchase known as Oregon, based upon the discover)- of the 
mouth of the Columbia River in May, 1791, by Capt. Cray, of Boston, in 
the ship Columbia, naming the river after the name of his ship." 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

the next day's experiences. Think of them in the wilderness, 

in the years of isolation from civilized life, mindful only of the 
scenes they are passing through, and of the great work before 
tliem; then drop a memorial leaf to the memory of faithful 
men, who served well their country in their day and generation. 

We annually set apart one day in three hundred and sixty- 
five to recount the brave deeds, and .strew flowers upon the 
graves of the heroic dead who fell in the great struggle for a 
nation's unity, and we do well; hut no one generation has the 
exclusive honor of furnishing heroes who fall in life's battles. 
Struggles for a fuller and a higher development of all the 
agencies that crown duty's call and life's faithful work every- 
where call for gratitude. In the sweep of events, where brave 
deeds and heroic work are forgotten, let us not forget Captains 
Lewis and Clark, whose memory should be cherished while 
years revolve and the sun shines. They did their work faith- 
fully, grandly, well, and we are enjoying the fruits of their 
labor. Since their day, how changed the realities of our 
national life. The mighty Missouri river — with its swift cur- 
rent, its shifting sand-bars, here to-day and there to-morrow, 
filled with snags which have come down from mountain forests 
— still rolls its floods to the sea, in some places miles distant 
from where those first explorers passed over its murky bosom, 
not then as now bearing the wealth of a nation. 

Instead of boats creeping up its waters and propelled by 
oars, now steam power, harnessed to great ships, more numer- 
ous than the ships of Tarshish, laden with passengers and 
freight, plow up and down its waters for thousands of miles, 
opening up to settlement and civilization a vast, rich country, 
which our countrymen can have, almost for the asking. 

Great cities line the river banks. Railroad bridges span its 
waters from shore to shore, civilized homes, cultivated fields, 
and rich harvests brighten the landscape, greeting the eye in 
all directions. Ponderous railroad trains move over its vast 
plains, winding through dismal chasms, and climbing along 
frightful precipices, drawing the wealth of nations from ocean 
to ocean, and from the lakes to the gulf. 

A short time ago, a cargo of two thousand tons of tea from 


The Louisiana Purchase. I 1 

Yokahama, arrived at Tacorna, in the State of Washington, 

('unsigned to St. Paul, Chicago, and New York. To move 
this tea, required twenty freight trains of ten ears each, at an 
expense of $35 a ton — or \.% of a cent a pound, to transport it 
from Yokohama to its destination. This tea came by the 
Northern Pacific Railroad, over a route part of which was 
traversed by Lewis and Clark, in their expedition to the Pacific. 
Jts transit from Tacoma to New York occupied eight days and 
four hours. It took Lewis and Clark two years, four months, 
and nineteen days of weary travel to make the journey from 
the Mississippi River to Portland, Oregon, and hack. Now, 
railroad trains with luxurious compartments come and go regu- 
larly between the Pacific and the Mississippi River, with civi- 
lized homes brightening the landscape in all directions, where 
not one in all the region greeted the v.yvs of Lewis and Clark. 

This territory between the Mississippi River and the Pacific 
Ocean, then an unbroken wilderness, is to-day a great empire, 
bustling with activities — its development too rapid to be calcu- 
lated, and its possibilities too great to be guessed at. 

Railroads penetrate the country in all directions. Iowa alone 
has more miles of railroad than all the six New England States 

The telegraph flashes daily intelligence from Rocky Moun- 
tain homes into editorial rooms in New York, London, Paris, 
and St. Petersburg; the steam press catches it up, sending it 
off at the rate of 100,000 impressions an hour, and it is read in 
every part of the civilized globe, in different languages, before 
the pointers on the -dial -pi ate complete their circuit. 

The widely separated dates between the signing of the Treaty 
at Paris, April 30th, and its arrival at Washington, July 1st, — 
between the draft of instructions to Capt. Lewis in April, and 
the signing of them June 30th, seems almost incredible to us, 
accustomed as we are to quick thinking and rapid execution, 
but when we remember that it was in 1807 that the first steam- 
boat plowed the waters of the Hudson to Albany, that it was 
in 1820 that the first railroad was constructed, running four 
miles from the Quincy quarries in Massachusetts to tidewater, 
that not a telegraph wire was then stretched in the land, that 



Berkshire Historical Society. 

S7 years ago, the post rider mounted his horse with mail pouch 

and saddle bags, and traveled on horseback through the wilder- 
ness and over the mountains from Washington to the Missis- 
sippi River, we can realize in some measure the delays and 
difficulties of the journey of Lewis and Clark. 

It took President Jefferson weeks to communicate a line or 
a word from Washington to the Mississippi River in any direc- 
tion. .Now when the President delivers his inaugural message 
at Washington, one telegraph wire catches it up and sends it to , 
the Pacific Ocean; and though it covers a printed page of a 
newspaper, it is there received, three thousand miles distant, 
three hours in point of time before its delivery, — is there pub- 
lished, without the loss of a word or omission of a comma, and 
read simultaneously in point of time with its delivery in Wash- 
ington. Another wire starts it down to Mexico and the South 
American States; another sends it through the ocean to London, 
Paris, St. Petersburgh, and on to the Tsles of the Sea. 

We had supposed that the telegraph, having annihilated 
distance and time, could have no rival in the field; but lo! the 
telephone appears, a man may sit at one end of the wire, and 
call to a friend at the other, who listens to the words of a 
familiar voice, delivers his commercial orders, and pockets his 
ducats, before a telegraphic message could reach its destination. 

These magic wires stretching over all lands — through all 
waters— are earth's heart-cords, making this planet of ours a 
living creature, sensitive through every fibre of its gigantic 
frame, along whose quivering nerves and throbbing pulses, the 
great human mind thinks, and the great human voice speaks of 
realities that crown our national life with achievements, greater 
than Jefferson comprehended or dreamed of. 

Instead of wind-bound, storm-baffled sailing craft, with forty- 
day manifests from London, Liverpool, or Paris, such as Jef- 
ferson depended upon for means of communication in his day; 
now great floating steam palaces, with home comforts, come 
and go in their six day pastimes, regardless of wind or weather, 
with holiday entertainments the journey over. Instead of a 
mail pouch hung across the saddle-tree, carrying a week's mail 
from Washington to the Mississippi River in a month's time as 

The Louisiana Purchase. 4'> 

in Jefferson's clay, now thirty span of horses could not haul one 
day's mail from Washington to St. Louis, in any one month of 
the year. 

No man, however extensive his reading, his knowledge of 
statistics, can have by such means any adequate idea of the 
vastness and value of the "Louisiana Purchase." Lie will full 
short of the great reality, which can only open before him as 
he journeys over it by steam power day after day, week in and 
week out, in a continuous direction, and comprehends by com- 
parison and contrast, that the great Empire State of New Fork 
is, after all, a mere speck upon the surface, but dust in the 
balance, when weighed against the mighty Empire embraced 
within the " Louisiana Purchase." 

Much of the historical influence leading up to the negotia- 
tions and acquisition of this territory was due to a Connecticut 
man, John Ledyard, born in Groton, in that State, in 1751. 
lie entered Dartmouth College at the age of nineteen to pre- 
pare himself as a missionary among the Indians. He left col- 
lege at the close of the first year, shipped as a sailor to Gibral- 
tar, there enlisted as a soldier. Obtaining his discharge, he 
accompanied Capt. Cook in his voyage to the Pacific in 1770. 
lie revisited Connecticut in 1782, but neither the quiet old 
town of Groton or the State possessed attractions for him. 
His restless spirit chafed with the love of adventure, lie re- 
crossed the Atlantic, and went to Paris to persuade a mercantile 
firm there to enter into the fur trade on the west coast of 
America, near the mouth of the Columbia River. 

While in Paris, in 1787, he had frequent interviews with 
Thomas Jefferson, one of the three Commissioners sent by 
Congress to Paris with treaty-making powers for commercial 
purposes. His conversation was upon the subject and desira- 
bility of this government acquiring possession and control of 
the territory between the Mississippi River and the Pacific 

So firmly was the frontier guarded against incursions into it 
from our side, that Jefferson said he proposed to Ledyard to 
go by way of Kamskateka, cross over in some Russian vessel to 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

Nootka Sound, fall down into the latitude of Missouri, and 

then penetrate through to the United States. 

Jeit'erson says: " Ledyard eagerly seized the idea, and only 
asked to be assured of the permission of the Russian govern- 
ment to the undertaking." Jefferson interested himself in 
obtaining that permission, and Ledyard started with a passport 
obtained through Jefferson's agency for that purpose. 

At 200 miles from Kamskatska, Ledyard was pursued, over- 
taken, and arrested by an officer of the Empress, who had 
changed her mind, forbidding him to proceed. lie was put 
into a close carriage, and conveyed back without stopping, day 
or night, till they reached Poland, where he was left with a 
warning not to return, and his undertaking was abandoned. 
Chagrined at the disappointment, he resolved upon, and after- 
wards undertook, a journey into Egypt, but with health shat- 
tered by fatigue and exposure, he died at Cairo on the way, 
January 17th, 1789. 

So interested had Jefferson become through his interviews 
with Ledyard, as to the desirability of our government acquir- 
ing this territory, that in 1792 he proposed to the American 
Philosophical Society to start a subscription and engage some 
competent persons to explore this region by ascending the 
Missouri River. This was done. Capt. Lewis and a French 
botanist were selected for the undertaking. They started, and 
when they arrived at Louisville, Kentucky, they were over- 
taken by an order from the Minister of France to the French 
botanist, to relinquish the expedition, and it was given up. 

But Jefferson never lost sight of the Star of Empire which 
seemed to him to hang over the region west of the Mississippi 
River, and his sleepless eye watched with jealous care all the 
movements in reference, not only to Spanish possessions stretch- 
ing westward from the east coast of Florida to the Mississippi 
River, but also he had longing desires to extend our domain 
west of the Mississippi, and Mr. Monroe felt authorized, by 
conversations with Jefferson, to exceed the limits of his instruc- 
tions, and he took the whole of the French possessions in 
America, pledging the credit of the nation for its purchase, it 
was a large sum tor our country to assume at that earl)- date, 

r ritc Louisiana /Purchase. 4f> 

and yet, the Rum paid for the out ire; purchase is not cqifal to 
the product of the mines in Montana for one year, or the wheal 

of Kansas, or the com of Iowa, for a single year. 

Jefferson, though doubting his constitutional right to make 
the purchase, was greatly pleased with the result of the nego- 
tiations, though many of his countrymen were; displeased with 
what seemed to them the enormous price to be paid. Jefferson 
encountered fierce opposition by reason thereof throughout our 
scattered population, but Congress promptly ratified the treaty, 
and opposition soon turned to praise. 

When Jefferson prepared his instructions to Lewis and Clark, 
lie spoke of all that western territory as foreign land. We find 
in his instructions the following: 

"As your movements while within the limits of tlie United States will 
be better directed by occasional communication adapted to circumstances 
as they arise, will not be noticed here. What follows will respeel your 
proceedings after your departure from the United States. 

"Your mission has been communicated to the Ministers here from 
France, Spain, and Great Britain, and through them to their governments 
and such assurances given them as to its objects as we trust will satUi'y 
them. The country of Louisiana, having been ceded by Spain to Prance, 
the passport you have from the Minister of France, the representative of 
the present sovereign of the country, will be a protection of all its subjects, 
and that from the Minister of England will entitle you to the friendly aid 
of the traders of that allegiance with whom you may happen to meet." 

Armed with these passports, and hacked with assistance and 
orders of our government, the expedition started, and faith- 
fully completed the work assigned them, returning to St. Louis, 
September 2#d, 1SO0, having crossed the country from the 
mouth of the Missouri .River to the month of the Columbia on 
the Pacific coast and hack again. 

General Sherman's march to the sea was not attended with 
more anxiety to the government and the country than was the 
absence of this little band unheard of for more than two years. 
Their return to St. Louis was heralded with delight all over 
the country, and a great burden of suspense lifted from the 
heart of the nation. 

Many of the rivers, mountains, rocks, and places received 
names from them which they bear to-day. 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

Tlieir observant eyes, practical wisdom, and marvelous sur- 
mounting of difficulties, will not cease to be a wonder to all 
who are acquainted with tlieir great work. The writer, having 
traveled by easy conveyance thousands of miles over the conn- 
try by the route they pursued, can never cease to wonder at 
the marvelous achievements of those brave, persevering men. 

Capt. Lewis soon after his return was made Governor of the 
territory of Louisiana, and Capt. Clark, General of its Militia, 
and agent of the United States for Indian affairs in that de- 

Lewis, with poor health and a constitution shattered by the 
fatigues and exposures of the expedition, committed suicide 
near Nashville, Tennessee, on his way from St. Louis to Wash- 
ington, October 11th, 1809. 

President Madison appointed Capt. (Hark Governor of Mis- 
souri in 1813, which position he held until Missouri was admit- 
ted into the Union. 

\n 1823 he was appointed Superintendent of Indian affairs, 
which office he held at his death in St. Louis, Sept. 1st, 1838. 

A debt of gratitude to the men who composed the Lewis 
and Clark expedition was recognized by Congress, and a dona- 
tion of public lands was made which at that early day was of 
small value. Men of less public consideration have received 
greater public rewards. 

How much this nation and the world at large is indebted to 
Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe, for the peaceful acquisi- 
tion of this territory, amid threatening and impending difficul- 
ties, can never be told or comprehended. 

This purchase gave us the breadth of the continent from 
ocean to ocean, the command of its rivers and harbors, the 
wealth of its mountains, its plains and valleys, a country sweep- 
ing from the Gulf to the Lakes and the Lakes to the Sea, in 
which is being worked out the sublimest problems of human 
life and of self-government in the interests of the people. 

We cannot speak particularly of each State and Territory 
carved out of the " Louisiana Purchase." A country so vast, 
extending through so many degrees of latitude and longitude, 
embracing so many States and Territories, such a variety of 

The Louisiana Purchase. IT 

climate and natural features, cannot be individualized or 
grouped together in a single paper. 

Each State and territory has its own individuality, in many 
respects different from its fellows. The writer has only shown 
the genealogical tree from which these several States and 
Territories have sprung, and brought together such data as it 
may be desirable to remember. 

Possibly enough has been said to lead up to other fascinating 
fields of inquiry, where investigation will be rewarded with 
pleasure and profit. 

The Yellowstone, or National Park before spoken of, is 
Nature's Wonderland, unequaled in marvelous attractions by 
any other known region on the habitable globe. 

It stretches its boundary lines into three states, Wyoming, 
Idaho, and Montana. Its territorial arrear is 55x05 miles— 
about two-thirds as large as the State of Connecticut, and is the 
largest National Park in the world. 


There are several in the Park, chief of which is Yellowstone 
Lake, near the central part of the reservation. This lake cov- 
ers an area of 102,000 acres and is 300 feet deep. This wa- 
tery solitude, secluded and lofty mountain peaks, is fed from 
rivulets, springs and snow meltings from mountains lifting 
their majestic heads up into cloud regions, and wearing their 
frosty caps undisturbed from generation to generation. 

These mountains are as impressive in grandeur, as sublime 
in majesty, as mysterious in surroundings, as the mount on 
which Moses stood when he held converse with Jehovah. 

An examination of a late government map reveals the tact, 
that three of the mountain peaks in the Park are between 
1 1,000 and 12,000 feet high, fifteen between L0,000 and 1 1,000 
feet, and ten between 9,000 and 10,000 feet in height, and 
others of lesser altitudes. 

Remove Mt. Washington, the crowning glory of the White 
Mountains, the highest mountain in New England, up by the 
side of this mountain sea, with its base at sea level, and the 
waves of Yellowstone Lake would roll 2,000 feet over its sum- 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

init. This crystal sea, with an altitude of 8,00(J feet above sea 
Level, is a perfect paradise: for wild fowl in the season, and tliey 
are actually tame in their wildness. The lake is well stocked 
with fish of various kinds and of large proportions, some of 
them as pretty speckled beauties as ever tempted the eye or 
tickled the palate of Isaac Walton. 

Some of the waters of this lake lind their way out through 
the Snake and Columbia Rivers into the Pacific Ocean, and 
some sweep down the Yellowstone into the Missouri lliver and 
into the Gulf of Mexico, to he there gathered up in fogs and 
mists, and scattered in pearly rain drops over the parched earth, 
refreshing the gardens of Edeu, and quickening the pulse of 
vegetable life along the lines of fruitful promise. 


takes its rise in this lake and is its principal outlet, This river 
is more than 1,000 miles in length, and navigable for steamers 
that ply up and down its waters for more than LOO miles. 

The deep gorges through which this river passes, belong to 
the mysteries of Creation. Its rugged walls are from 2(K> to 
300 feet apart, and in depth so dee]) that no sound of its rush- 
ing waters below ever reach the listening ear at the top. These 
gray old rocks hold the secrets of their birth in dismal shadows 
from age to age. 

The Suspension Bridge at Niagara Falls is 250 feet above 
the water; a like bridge over the Yellowstone canon would be 
1,500 feet. The Falls at Niagara are 164 feet, 186 feet less 
than the great Yellowstone Falls. The falls of the Yellowstone 
"River as marked on the government map above referred to, are 
respectively 350 feet— 200.! S-l feet perpendicular — a cascade of 
1,300 feet, in all about 3,000 feet in fifteen miles. 


once the scene of terrific volcanic energy, where the earth yet 
quakes and trembles with manifestations of volcanic forces, 
hurling columns of water and steam from fiery regions below, 
hundreds of feet above the surface, No such cluster of Geyser 
wonders is exhibited elsewhere in the world. 

The Louisiana Purchase. 


"There is old Faithful, with its two by live feel column, 
playing to a height of 150 feet, perfect in all the elements of 
geyser action. The Beehive is sending up its graceful col in nn 
200 feet heavenward. While the Giantess is making a gor- 
geous display of its ten feet volume to an altitude of 250 feet. 
Old Castle, with alarming detonations, is belching forth a 
gigantic volume 70 feet above its crater. While the Grand, 
overtopping all the rest, with its graceful volume 300 feel in 
the air. The .Riverside, the Comet, the fascinating Kantail, all 
chiming in, and the grand Old Giant, chief of the basin, is 
towering up with its six feet fountain at an elevation of 250 
feet." These subterranean waters, lifted into majestic columns 
above the surface swaying in sunlight, are encircled with a halo 
of gorgeous hues, flashing tinseled robes of silver, decked in 
prismatic colors, dazzling the wondering eyes of beholders. 


burst out in different localities in the Park both in the valleys 
and on the mountain sides. 

These springs vary in size and temperature; one of them on 
the mountain side is of great depth, with a large flow of water. 

Dr. Llayden, U. IS. Geologist, says: "All these springs are 
adorned with decorations more beautiful than human art ever 
conceived, and which have required thousands of years for the 
cunning hand of nature to form. 1 ' 

Nowhere cite in the "world's curiosity shop'' are to be 
found such marvelous expressions of beauty, such infinite 
variety of development, such grouping of Nature's "Bric-a- 
brac Art" as are found within the geographical lines of this 
great National Park. 




The history of a family may seem to be of special or local 

interest merely, but it may embrace the origin of a nation and 
the embryo of a nation's history. It often illustrates the 
power of a principle, or the progress tff an idea; the analysis 
of its motives, its relations and its ramifications as it grows and 
spreads out, sometimes leads us to discover that no family 
stands alone, but that all become more or less affiliated and 
bound together in unity. 

No apology can be necessary for me on this occasion, be- 
cause T appear at the request of the Berkshire Historical So- 
ciety and to treat a subject of its own selection. Though the 
Rev. Thomas Allen will be the central and perhaps most pic- 
turesque figure of my discourse, yet it is not my purpose to 
speak of him with fullness or completeness, but rather to bring 
out briefly and within the halo of his name, some of the 
more interesting points appertaining to his ancestry, his family 
and his descendants. Of him personally, not less than six bio- 
graphical sketches have been published. See Allen's Bio- 
graphical Dictionary, Sprague's Annals of the American Pul- 
pit, Headley's Clergy of the Revolution, History of Pittsfield 
and the Congregational Quarterly. 

There was no parliament convoked in England from 1029 
to 1640. Charles the first was absolute monarch. Wentwortb, 
Earl of Strafford, performed thoroughly for his master the po- 
litical and military work, while William Laud, Archbishop of 
Canterbury, directed ecclesiastical affairs in conformity with 
the tyranical spirit of the controlling power. It was the period 
of those infamous courts known as the Star Chamber and the 
High Commission, the former a political and the latter a re- 
ligious inquisition. There was "no protection to the subject 


Herbs/tire Historical Society. 

against the civil and ecclesiastical tyranny of that period." The 
attempts of these powers to force conformity with their views 
and ramifications relating to church as well as political aifairs 
and the persecutions which attended them, led many people to 
despair of the government and of their own Liberty * and in- 
duced very many to emigrate to Holland, Prance and Amei* 


Even Oliver Cromwell and John Hampden proposed to come 
to America, but were prevented by a proclamation of the 

government. They remained and disputed and fought the 
steps of tyranny at home. Among the results of the Long 
Parliament that commenced in H540, Charles the 1st and 
Strafford and Land all lost their heads. 

Among the active and aide dissenters who Won a name in 
the History of England and America was Rev. Thomas 
Hooker. Lord Macauley says of him: "The school of divin- 
ity, of which Hooker was the chief, occupies a middle place 
between the school of Cranmer and the school of Laud, and 
Hooker has in modern times been claimed by the .Americans 
as an ally. Yet Hooker pronounced Calvin to have been k a 
man superior in wisdom to any other divine that France had 
produced; a man to whom thousands were 1 indebted for the 
knowledge of divine truth, but who was himself indebted to 
God alone.' " 

In speaking of the troubles and perils of England at that 
time, Macauley continues: "Many looked to the American 
Wilderness as the only asylum in which they could enjoy civil 
and spiritual freedom. There a few resolute Puritans who in 
the cause of their religion feared neither the rage of the ocean, 
nor the hardships of uncivilized life, neither the fangs of sav- 
age beasts nor the tomahawks of more savage men, had built 
amidst the primeval forest, villages which are now great and 
opulent cities, but which have through every change, retained 
some trace of the character derived from their founders. The 
government regarded these infant colonies with aversion and 
attempted violently to stop the stream of emigration, but 
could not prevent the population of New England from being 
largely recruited by stout-hearted and God-fearing men from 
every part of the old England.' 1 — Mac. /fist, of Eng. Vol. 1, 
p. 72. 

An Account of a Portion of the Allen Family. . r >5 

Among tlieso emigrants, was a company under the auspices 
of Thomas Hooker, and in this company of dissenters were 
Samuel Allen, Matthew Allen and Thomas Allen, brothers. 
They came to Newtown, now Cambridge, in LG32, from Brain- 
tree, Essex County, England, a county where Laud was re- 
membered in 1000, rector of Tilbury, and a county where 
Hooker lectured. They remained at Cambridge but two or 
three years when it was deemed necessary to enlarge the 
boundaries of tin; settlements, and then with many others, 
with Hooker and Samuel Stone at their head, they emigrated 
in 1636 to the more fertile valley of the Connecticut. They 
took one hundred souls with them and one hundred and sixty 
head of cattle, subsisting on the milk of their cows and the 
fruits and berries of a wilderness, which it took them a fort- 
night to traverse. They named the new settlement Hartford 
in honor of Stone's birthplace in England. Two of the Allen 
brothel's, Matthew and Samuel, settled at a place they called 
Windsor, and one of them, Thomas, at Middletown. Matthew 
become a colonel and Thomas a deacon. 

Samuel Allen, who is my first ancestor in this country, and 
of course the first ancestor of the Rev. Thomas Allen in this 
country, one of the above mentioned brothers lived at Windsor, 
Ct., until he died at the age of sixty, in 1(54:8. lie was a far- 
mer and is said to have been a man of public spirit and honored 
by his fellow citizens with positions of trust. His widow, 
Ann, removed to Northampton, Mass. They bad four sons and 
two daughters and their descendants are very numerous. I 
have the names of about one thousand of them: among them 
I find clergymen, doctors, lawyers and mechanics, but a ma- 
jority of them seem to have been farmers. Two of the sons of 
this emigrant, Samuel and Xehemiah, remained in Northamp- 
ton, Samuel marrying Hannah and Nehemiah, marrying Sarah 
Woodford. One of the sons, John, who married Mary Han- 
nuin, was killed by the Indians at the battle of Bloody Brook, 
Deerfield, September 18, 1675. A descendant of his, Willard 
Spencer Allen, now clerk of the municipal Court of the East 
Boston District, lias compiled and published a genealogy of 
Samuel Allen and his descendants. Another and the youngest 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

son, Obadiali, married Elizabeth San ford of Mil ford and was 
adopted by his uncle Thomas, of Middletown, and inherited 

most of his estate. From Nehemiah descended Gen. Ethan 
Allen and Hon. Ira Allen of Vermont. 

During the same war which King Phillip, son of Massasoit, 
waged against the settlers and in which John Allen was killed, 
Samuel (2d) was driven from his home lot in Northampton to 
take refuge within a fortification; and some of the grandchild- 
ren to escape the Indians, removed to Enfield, Ot., where many 
of the tribe of Allen were subsequently born. 

Among the children of the second Samuel, was Samuel (3d) 
who was born in Northampton during the Indian war, viz : 
July 6, 1075. lie grew to man's estate and became a deacon 
in Jonathan Edwards' church, and his wife was Sarah, daughter 
of Israel Rust. From this marriage of Samuel Allen and 
Sarah Rust came Joseph, the father of Rev. Thomas Allen. 
Joseph married Elizabeth Parsons, daughter of Noah and 
Mindwell Parsons, and had eight sons and four daughters, lie 
died in Northampton, Dec. 30, 1779. His widow died there 
Jan. 9, 1800. Mrs. Granger, now living in Pittsfield at the 
unusual age of ninety-four, remembers her as a notably good 
woman. His grandfather's and granduncle's experience with 
the Indians may account for the early bequest in the will of 
Joseph Allen, of land to Dartmouth College, an institution 
founded by Eleazer Wheelock with the idea in part of extend- 
ing his own and John Sergeant's Indian Charity School — a 
charity which has fallen to the lot, I believe, of our respected 
President, Mr. .Hyde, to practice at the present time. The be- 
quest I allude to was "to be expended in propagating the gos- 
pel among the Indians," and Thomas Allen, his uncle, also 
gave £0.13.4 to promote "the spread of gospel among the heath- 
enish nations of this province.' 1 This Mr. Joseph Allen, whose 
father as I have stated was a deacon in Jonathan Edwards' 
church, had an appreciation of Mr. Edwards which led him to 
espouse his cause in his controversy with his church which led 
to his dismissal, and he was one of a few who offered to sup- 
port Mr. Edwards if he would remain in Northampton. 

The names of the sons of this Mr. Joseph Allen of .North- 

An Account of a Portion of the Allen Family. 57 

amptun were, Joseph, Jonathan. Thomas, Phineas, Moses, Sol- 
omon, Elisha and Elijah. Five of these sons very naturally, 
it seenis to mc considering their descent, took quite a notable 
part in the Revolutionary war against England. Joseph (tame 
to Pittsfield and lived immediately north of the present place 
on North street known as Maplewood. lie took part in the 
assault on Quebec in 1775, at Ticonderoga in 177C>, and at Kurt 
Edward, and was a lieutenant in the fight at Bennington in 
1777. He is the brother to whom Parson Allen said in the 
light, "now Joe, you load and I'll tire." He emigrated to 
Charleton, Vt., where he died at the age of seventy- four in 
18 LO. lie had ten children and their descendants are very 

Jonathan, for whom my father was named, was a laud- 
holder in Northampton, and his trade; was that of a house car- 
penter or joiner, lie was appointed a captain by John Han- 
cock, President of Congress, in Col. llufus Putnam's regiment 
in 1777, and in 177 ( J, he was promoted by Congress to he 
major, and his commission was signed by Samuel Huntington, 
President of the Congress, lie bore the reputation of an ex- 
cellent officer, and served in the army at White Plains, Sara- 
toga and elsewhere in the state of New York. He was acci- 
dentally shot while hunting deer in the forest at Northampton 
in L7S0. His widow married Ebenezer Davis of Charleton, 
an uncle of the late 11. G. Davis of this town. Phineas died 
young, but Moses, the fifth son, came to Sheffield in this 
county, was educated at Princeton in the same class with 
James Madison, and became a clergyman, settled at Medway, 
Ga. He was driven from that place by the British troops un- 
der Gen. Prevost from St. Augustine in the latter part of 
1778, who scattered his society and burned his meeting house. 
He became chaplain to a Georgia brigade and was made 
prisoner at the surrender of Savannah to the British. Other 
prisoners were admitted on their parole, but he was not. In 
attempting to escape the hardships of the prison ship Nancy, 
he was drowned Feb. 8, 1779, and his body was found on the 
beach near Tybee. A Mr. Sheftol, a Jew, who was his friend, 
offered the captain of the ship a guinea for boards to make a 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

coffin, but ho could not obtain them for the rebel minister, and 
so he was buried without a coffin by the crew of the shin 
Toucy, Feb. 10, 1770, who were on shore cutting wood, tie 
was admired for his popular talents, his courageous devotion 
to American liberty and his many virtues. J I is brother, the 
Rev. Thomas Allen, braving all the dangers of the journey at 
such a time, leaving Pittstield early in Nov. 1771), travelled on 
horseback all the way to Georgia, reaching there about the 
middle of December to bring home the widow and infant son. 
lie returned to Boston by sea and reached that city after a 
voyage of twenty days. I find the following entry in liis 
pocket almanac for 1780 : 

"Saturday, Feb. 12, 1780, reached Boston in safety. 

Saturday, Feb 19, reached Northampton. 

Tuesday, Feb. 22, 1780, readied Pittstield after an absence of 8 months 
and 14 days, and found my family in good health, blessed be God. Hav- 
ing experienced many great and special mercies myself. Though my 
honored father and beloved brother, Jonathan, have died since my ab- 
sence, yet I have abundant occasion to bless God for His goodness." 

Twenty-one years thereafter, viz. : Oct. 1801, the nephew 
thus rescued, bearing the name of his father, being on his re- 
turn to Georgia, was seized with the yellow fever in New 
York, and died at the age of twenty-five, and his reverend 
uncle, Thomas, Oct. 24, 1801, delivered a funeral sermon on 
his death in the family of Elisha Lee, Esq., a lawyer of Shef- 
field, which was published^ The widowed mother of this 
young man having married Mr. Lee, revisited Georgia, accom- 
panied by Samuel L. Allen, a son of Rev. Thomas Allen, in 

The sixth son of Joseph was Solomon, and he was a remark- 
able man, worthy of an independent biography, lie was a 
lieutenant in the Revolutionary army, and served in those in- 
teresting movements about New York at the period of the 
battle of White Plains in Oct. 1776, the capture of Major An- 
dre and the discovery of Arnold's treason. He commanded a 
select squad to carry Andre to Gen. Arnold at West Point, 
but fears of the enemy induced his superior officer to change 
the order and deliver his prisoner to Capt. Horglin, at Salem. 
and to proceed with the information to Gen. Arnold. Arnold 

An Account of a Portion of the Allen Family. 59 

invited Lieut. Allen upstairs to sit with 1 lis wife and precipi- 
tately left, and his plans being defeated, joined the enemy. 
Joseph Allen, a relative, was one of the guard at Andre's exe- 
cution. Solomon Allen rose to the rank of major, and after 
the war was conspicuous as an officer in quelling the insurrec- 
tion of Shay's. At the age of fifty, he became impressed with 
the idea that it was his duty to preach the gospel. Consider- 
ing that he had none of the advantages of a liberal education, 
his success was remarkable; without money or property, ami 
refusing pecuniary aid, and sometimes sleeping upon the 
ground with nothing but a blanket to cover him, he went 
about praying and preaching and visiting the poor. 1 remem- 
ber distinctly the venerable white haired man simply from the 
impressive manner and words of a blessing he asked at my 
father's table at the old farm house in the east pari of Pitts- 
field: "Build thine house with wisdom, thine understanding 
shall establish it and knowledge shall fill thy chambers with 
riches." lie established four churches in the western part of 
New York, one of which, that at Brighton, near Rochester, 
only last year erected a memorial with suitable ceremonies in 
his honor. His daughters married Chirks of Northampton. 
One of his sons, Phinehas, spent his life in Pittsfield and es- 
tablished and edited for sixty years 77te J^tt.sfield Sun, and 
two of his sons, Solomon and Moses, under the firm name of 
S. & M. Allen in New York and Philadelphia, constituted, 
forty years ago, one of the most influential banking houses in 
the United States. One of the firm, Moses, was for about 
forty years Treasurer of the American Tract Society. The 
grandson, Phinehas Allen, Jr., we shall have occasion to re- 
member as having left his estate, between forty and fifty 
thousand dollars, ultimately to go to the Berkshire Athenaeum, 
in which we are now sitting. A great-grandson, Theodore L. 
Allen, is at present Register for the Berkshire Central District. 
The seventh son of Joseph was Elislia, who lived in the 
house of his father, now or lately, Mr. Watson's of North- 
ampton. Two of his sons, Captain Elisha Allen and Jonathan 
Allen (2d), came to Pittsfield, and lived and died here, and 
doubtless are well remembered by many persons now living. 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

Two of his grand-daughters are now living here, — one resides 

in Pennsylvania and one was buried here yesterday. 

The eighth son of Joseph Allen was Elijah Allen, who mar- 
ried Keziah Wright, had seven children and lived and died 
in Northampton. 

I now return to the third son of Joseph, the Rev. Thomas 
Allen, who was my grandfather and from whom J derive my 
name. He was born in Northampton, Jan. 7, 1743. When 
Samuel Allen was driven from his home by the Indians, the 
town of Northampton gave him a house lot on the hill, near 
where the Congregational church stands, then called "Meeting 
house hill." There he built his house and there lie lived and 
died. He gave this house and lot to his son Thomas, who died 
unmarried in 1754. It was for this Thomas, the son of Sam- 
uel, that my grandfather derived his name and the means of 
his education. That granduncle dying when my grandfather 
was eleven years of age, bequeathed to him £133 6s. 8d. which 
was the sufficient sum to give him his education at Harvard 
College. He graduated at Cambridge in 1702, being then 
nineteen years of age, and was ranked among the best classical 
scholars of the day. He studied theology under the direction 
of Rev. John Hooker, of Northampton, about two years, and 
w T as ordained the first minister of Pittsfield, April 18, 1764. 
It is worthy of notice that the ordination sermon was preached 
by Mi*. John Hooker, a great-grandson of the celebrated Rev. 
Thomas Hooker, with whose company the Aliens, twelve years 
after the Mayflower, came over from England. He married 
Elizabeth Lee of Salisbury, Ct., daughter of Rev. Jonathan 
Lee, who was a son of David Lee, of Coventry, and Lydia 
Strong, of Northampton, Feb. 18, 1768. This lady who is de- 
scribed as having been beautiful and always amiable and be- 
nignant, he brought to Pittsfield on horseback, she riding with 
her husband on a pillow. She was a descendant in the fifth 
generation of William Bradford, who was thirty-one years 
governor of Plymouth, her father having married Elizabeth 
Metcalf, daughter of Rev. Joseph Metcalf of Falmouth, who 
married Abiel Adams, daughter of Rev. William Adams of 
Dedham, who married Alice Bradford, the eldest daughter of 

An Account of a Portion of the Allen Family. 61 

William, sun of the Governor. Of the twelve children of 
Rev. Thomas Allen and wife, seven sons and three daughters 
reached maturity, and eight survived the father and three only 
survived the mother. Of the daughters, Elizabeth, born Feb. 
8, 1775, married William P. White, a merchant, and died in 
London, February 2, 1798, leaving a son, Allen White, who has 
spent his life in Buenos Ay res prosecuting a claim of his father 
against the government. Clarissa, born July 12, 1779, married 
John Ereck of Northampton, President of a bank, and Colo- 
nel of the 40th Regiment in the war of 1812, and a large 
landholder and founder of the town of Brecksville in northern 
Central Ohio. She died December 6, 1831, leaving three 6ons 
and one daughter, two of whom are now living at Brecksville. 
Love, born July 8, 1786, married Eleazur Ripley, Speaker of 
the Massachusetts House of Representatives, the hero of 
Lundy's Lane, a major general, and member of Congress from 
Louisiana in 1830. She died of yellow r fever at Pensacola, 
September 11, 1820, her husband being then stationed ;it that 
place. She left a son and daughter; the son, Henry, volun- 
teered to light for the independence of Texas, but being taken 
prisoner, was massacred with Farming's command, after cap- 
ture by order of Gen. Santa Anna, and the daughter, who 
married Col. Lanson of Louisiana, was a childless widow, dur- 
ing the war of the Rebellion going about doing good among 
the sick and wounded in Louisiana. Of the sons, 1 speak of 
the eldest first. 


Thomas Allen, Jr., the eldest son of the Rev. Thomas Al- 
len, was born March 1G, 1769. lie graduated at Cambridge 
in 1789, and studied law. He became a practioner at the bar, 
iirst at Sheffield and afterwards at Pittstield, and as such, seems 
to have been respected. He married Sarah Ingersoll. Their 
only child, Thomas, died in Chicago in 1835. The widow sur- 
vived until a few years ago. He was librarian of the first li- 
brary of Pittstield incorporated in 1801. He took a zealous 
interest in establishing the order of politics as advocated by 
Thomas Jefferson and was elected to the Legislature. The 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

courage with which lie maintained his position there, against 
an overwhelming majority rendered him conspicuous. But in 

the midst of his labors he was taken sick, and after a lingering 
illness, died, and his remains were followed to the Wendell 
vault in Tremont street where they still lie, by the Governor 
and Speaker of the House, the President of Harvard College 
and other of the most prominent citizens. The Pittsfield Sun 
in the issue of March 31, 1S06, thus spoke of him : 

"lie was one of the few ;it the bar who openly and unwaveringly, at 
every hazard and temptation to seduce him, vindicated the National Con- 
stitution and present administration (Mr. Jefferson) of its government. In 
the legislature of this Commonwealth he pursued the same line of patriot- 
ism and was an able associate with others in the defence of the liberties of 
his country." 

The respect paid to his memory by his native town was 
rather unusual, and strikingly showed how he was appreciated. 
At a meeting of the inhabitants of the town of Pittsfield, 
Tuesday, May 13, 1806, it was " Voted, That this town wish- 
ing to perpetuate the memory of Thomas Allen, Jr., Esq., one 
of its llepresentatives in the Legislature of this Common- 
wealth, who died at Boston on the 22d day of March last, do 
entertain an affectionate remembrance of his important ser- 
vices in the Legislature, and in support of the rights and liber- 
ties of his country, and also of his uniform attachment to the 
present administration of the national government, and instead 
of erecting a marble monument to his memory, order this vote 
of approbation to be entered on the records of the town, as an 
indelible testimony to future posterity of their high esteem of 
him, as the friend of human happiness and of a Republican 
Government so conducive to it." 

Jonathan Allen, my father, the second son of Rev. Thomas 
Allen, surviving minority, was born in Pittsfield, March 23, 
1773. His infancy was spent in the stirring times of the Rev- 
olution, in which his father was so actively engaged. The 
scenes, the conversations and the events surrounding his youth 
doubtless had a great influence in moulding his character. Ex- 
cept these and the common schools of the village, and the 
teachings of his father, he had not the advantages of the more 

An Account of a Portion of. the Allen Family. 6»3 

liberal education of several of his brothers. He became for a 
time a country merchant, first at the .south-west corner of his 
father's homestead lot, and subsequently at a place near the 
corner of North street and the Park. His trips to New Fork 
were made by carriage to Kinderhook Landing and thence by 
sloop (vessels then advertising here) consuming sometimes 
three week* in the voyage. The tedium of the journey was 
relieved only by conversation, practice upon musicals and other 
amusements. His venturesome spirit took him into Canada 
wilderness on horseback, where pursued by a pack of wolves, 
he had a narrow escape from death, and probably, about the 
same period becoming possessor of a part of the town site of 
the present city oi Rochester; he also, by declining to bold, 
narrowly escaped becoming a possible millionaire. He also 
exposed his life in subduing a village lawyer (Hurlbut), who 
had unjustly aspersed his father. From the age of twenty-five 
to thirty -one, viz: from 1798 to 1804 he was town clerk and 
over one hundred and twenty pages of the town records are in 
his handwriting. 

He was twice married: firstly, August 24, 1800, to Eliza- 
beth, one of the six daughters of Dr. Perez Marsh of Dalton, 
whose wife was Sarah, daughter of Col. Israel Williams of 
Hat Held. By this marriage he had three children, two of 
whom, George Washington, and Charles James Fox, survived 
him. This wife died in Boston, where he then lived, Dec. 27, 
IS05. In the same city. Nov. 26, 1807, he married his second 
wife, Eunice Williams, daughter of Darius Earned, whose wife 
was Eunice, also a daughter of Dr. Perez Marsh. 

My father's mercantile enterprise led him to make a voyage 
to Portugal in 1810, to purchase Merino sheep, with the aid of 
William Jarvis, then our consul at Lisbon, wdio had himself sent 
some of the Spanish sheep to the United States. He purchased 
one hundred sheep out of the confiscated flocks of the Count 
of Montarco, which had been sold by the governmental Junta 
of Estramadura, under the Napoleon regime, and taken to Lis- 
bon. The sheep were described as "of the fine teashmuante 
wool from the confiscated Hocks of the Count of Montarco, 
whose breed is one of the best and of the highest credit of any 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

in Spain, the wool of which has been held in great estimation 
in all markets as well abroad as at home." The voyage home 
was rough and my father became so sick as to beg to be thrown 
overboard, which request, perhaps luckily for my own future 
introduction into the world, was not heeded. But about 
twenty-five of his sheep dying were thrown overboard, and lie 
finally reached Boston with seventy-five. The venture proved 
to be a good one, as some of the rams of the flock brought 
fabulous prices. Mr. William Jarvis, the consul, in a letter 
dated at Lisbon, August 1, 1810, says he had profited by the 
Junta of Estramadura's selling the confiscated Cabannas of 
Merino sheep they had in their possession, and purchased two 
thousand and had shipped one thousand two hundred to differ- 
ent parts of the United States. There was evidently much 
excitement of that time about Merino sheep and woolen man- 
ufactures. A sale of two hundred and fifteen Merino sheep 
in September of that year took place at the country place of 
Francis B. Wenthrop, Esq., at Homes Hook, and averaged 
$202 each; one ram bringing $910, and such men as Chan- 
cellor Livingston and Morgan Lewis were among- the pur- 

At the first fair held at Pittsfield, October 1, 1810, eight 
Merino sheep were exhibited belonging to Merrick ifc Colt, 
Elkanah Watson, and Root & Chappell. At the first meeting 
called to organize the Berkshire Agricultural Seciety, held at 
the Pittsfield Hotel, then standing at the southwest corner of 
my present homestead lot in Pittsfield, August 1, 1811, my 
father was chosen one of three trustees — the other two being 
Ezekiel Bacon and Joseph Shearer. And then at the first fair 
of the organized society held the ensuing October, he was 
awarded the first premium of $10 for the best full blood Merino 
lamb. For many subsequent years he continued to exhibit 
specimen of these sheep, competing with Watson, Strong 
Colt, Merrick, Shearer, and nearly always carrying off the first 
prizes. I have with me here-now a silver cup, awarded to him 
as a prize of $10 for the best full blooded Merino ram lamb. 
Being marked 1813, the year of my birth, it naturally perhaps, 
fell to me as an inheritance; and, excepting a good constitution, 

An Account of o Portion of the Allen, Fondly. 65 

a fairly amiable nature, and a spirit of non-conformity in re- 
spect to some matters, it is about the only thing I did inherit, 
and therefore I cherish this silver cup of 1813. 

It was in the year of the Declaration of war against Great 
Britain (1812) that lie was first elected to the Legislature and 
took an active part in supporting the national government; a 
county convention of which he was secretary adopted a series 
of strong and energetic resolutions, whose character may he 
inferred from the shortest one, which I have copied : 

"Resolved, That we highly approve of the Declaration of 
war, in defence of our just rights and that we will support it 
with our property and at the hazard of our lives." 

lie and his brothers did what they could to arouse the people 
and the " sons of liberty." His brother, the clergyman, was 
invited to deliver the election sermon at Boston, and two of his 
brothers and three brothers-in-law took prominent parts in the 

It was in the ensuing year when James Madison was Presi- 
dent and James Munroe acting secretary of war, that my father 
received from the President, under date of April 20, 1813, the 
appointment of assistant deputy quartermaster general with the 
rank of captain, with directions to report to Brig. Gen. Henry 
Burbeck at Boston. General Dearborn, having been appointed 
major-general of the army, came to Pittsfield and purchased 
for the United States a part of the late minister's remaining 
lands, about t.wenty-six acres, for a cantonment. This was sit- 
uated about where Maplewood Institute now is, and was for 
several years occupied as barracks for recruits and as a depot 
for prisoners of war. His duties seem to have been to erect 
and maintain buildings and to furnish quarters and supplies. 
The State authorities not being very cordial supporters of the 
war, had not ceded jurisdiction of the cantonment lands to the 
United States, and a question of State taxes upon property of 
the Federal government was the first to arise. There being no 
banks here at that time, and no monied men, and treasury notes 
being at a discount, he experienced not a little difficulty in 
meeting the requisitions of the service. In some of his reports 
to the Secretary of War he speaks of his constant disposition 


Be rlcsh ire Tlisto Heal Socle ty . 

to aid the cause all in his power, but God not having blessed 
him with means, he could not advance money nor borrow it, 
consequently had been much harassed. The number of troops 
being four hundred to five hundred, and prisoners of war num- 
bering fifteen hundred, the estimated expenses per annum 
sometimes ran up to $24,400. lie seems to have continued in 
these duties until 1822, when the; military stores at this place 
were turned over by him to the Quartermaster's Departmentat 
Albany. Meantime, in 1819, he purchased the farm of Otis 
Goodman, of about two hundred acres, two and one-half miles 
east of the village, on the road to Dalton, where he took up his 
family residence and pursued the avocation of a farmer for 
fourteen years. Upon this farm four of his children were 
born, and from it i was sent to college. Here he reared and 
increased his flock of full-blooded Merinos, and when his line 
Jleeces brought $2 per pound, which 1 well remember, his 
house and sheep-folds were often visited by prominent wool- 
growers and manufacturers. Prom this farm he was sent to 
the State Senate in 1822 and 1823, and to the House of Rep- 
resentatives four or five times. In politics he was always a 
democrat, and believed in the rule of the majority of the peo- 
ple, lie was a friend of agriculture and took an active interest 
in the Society of which he became twice President, and his 
addresses to the farmers encouraged them with liberal and 
advanced ideas. 

The committee on crops, of the Berkshire Agricultural So- 
ciety, James 1). Colt, chairman, in October, 1821, said of him: 

"The committee are sensible that the merits of the President, 
Jonathan Allen, Esq., cannot be enhanced by their commend- 
ation, but they would do injustice to their own feelings should 
they neglect this opportunity of giving their testimony to his 
liberal exertions during the last year, in experiments for the 
advancement of agricultural science." 

I have before me an original letter of Thomas Jefferson in 
the following words: 

"Mr. Jefferson returns thanks to Mr. Allen for the copy with 
which he has been favored of his address to the Berkshire As- 
sociation ; expresses his great pleasure on its successful progress. 

An Account of a Portion of the Allen Family. 67 

juicl with his best wishes for its continued improvement he 

salutes Mr. Allen with esteem and respect. 11 

MonticellQj Jan. 5, 1S22. 

lie espoused, according to his means and opportunities, the 
cause of education and internal improvement, was one of the 
incorporators of the Agricultural Hank, one of the trustees of 
the Berkshire Medical College, one of the earliest friends of a 
turnpike to connect Pittstield and Springfield; of a railroad to 
the Hudson river and of a railroad connection with tin; valley 
of the Connecticut. I hold in my hands a copy of the address 
of welcome which he delivered when (-Jen. Lafayette visited 
this town in 1825. It shows that he was an ardent patriot and 
that he had an intelligent appreciation of the services of the 
gallant general in our Revolutionary war. Though nominated 
by a convention of the Republican (Democratic) electors of the 
District of Berkshire in October, 1826, as their candidate for 
the twentieth Congress, and leading all other candidates at the 
election, no choice was made, owing to personal ambitions, the 
rivalry for places and the malice of enemies. A libellous article 
defamatory of his character, was published during the canvass, 
was at once recanted by its puerile author who confessed its 
falsity, and a judgment was obtained against the publisher in a 
suit for damages. In the hope of uniting the party Gen. Na- 
than AVillis was nominated the next year, and though a great 
effort w r as made to consolidate the vote, he received only four 
votes more than Mr. Allen did the previous year, and also failed 
of an election. ILe constituted whatever force or influence he 
had in behalf of the wool growers and manufacturers, whose 
cause was much agitated about that time. Subsequently, in 
the National Democratic Convention at Baltimore, of which he 
was a member, he made a forcible speech against the adoption 
of a rule which required two thirds to nominate a candidate for 

Of his six sons he gave one to the army, another he estab- 
lished as a merchant, and two he sent to college. Becoming 
embarrassed by the mercantile venture, he sold his farm in 183?>, 
and returned to the old homestead in the village. Being a 
Justice of the Peace and of the Quorum, and a man esteemed 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

for liia rectitude and good judgment, many local causes were 
taken before him for trial and adjudication. lie was a faith- 
ful attendant at the town meetings, in which he took an active 
and prominent part. 

In 1837 he was appointed postmaster of Pittsfield, an office 
which he held to the day of his death in 1845. 1 1 is oldest son, 
George Washington, entered the United States army in 1813, 
and rose to the rank of colonel, lie was in several battles with 
the Indians in Florida during the Seminole war and in the bat- 
tles of Palo Alto, lleseca de la Palina, and Monterey in the 
Mexican war, as commander of the -1th regiment of infantry, 
of which U. S. Grant, who has since tilled so large a space in 
the world, was an ensign. Colonel Allen died in 184:8, of yel- 
low fever, at Vera Cruz, after the war was over, but before 
our troops were withdrawn. 

The second son, Charles James Fox, died in 1801, an ap- 
praiser appointed by President Jackson, at the Port of Boston. 
Another son, William, was chief paymaster of the army of the 
Cumberland, during the late War of the Rebellion, died in 
Iowa in 1875. Another, and the only surviving son of Hon. 
Jonathan Allen, remains to make these notes. Of his three 
daughters surviving, Mary married Thomas S. O'Sullivan, 
Elizabeth married Henry G. Manjuand, and Malleville married 
Benjamin K. Curtis. 

Of my father, allowance being made for the partiality of a 
son, I will say that though his life was a struggle, he seemed 
to me to be a Christian gentleman, of generous impulses and 
patriotic spirit, in the latter of which there was a tendency to a 
development beyond his pecuniary means,- — yet he enjoyed life 
and was thankful for it. He was bospitabe and entertaining, 
fond of rural life and rural sports, and had a keen relish for 
those plain and simple country parties in which there was music 
and dancing and hearty conviviality. As a father he was so 
indulgent and self-sacrificing and anxious for the welfare and 
honorable standing of his family, that for one I took pride in 
administering to his pleasure and in endeavoring to honor him. 
"Honor thy father and thy mother that thy days may be long 
in the land," &c, is an injunction that I have ever taken the 

An Account of a Portion of the Allen Family. 69 

greatest satisfaction in obeying; an obedience worthily bc- 
stowed, as J tliink, in this case, and which J trust lias not been 

without blessing. A clerical friend, who had perfect faith iu 
a Superintending Providence, assured me that I had been 
prospered because of my obedience to this law. 

Hon. Henry Hubbard, a highly respectable lawyer and lec- 
turer upon Medical Jurisprudence and who as an independent 
candidate for Congress in 1820, received the vote next highest 
to that of Mr. Jonathan Allen, and who knew Mr. Allen long 
and intimately, described him as "sedate but cheerful, of great 
liberality, impartiality of attitude and as exerting always a con- 
siderable and sometimes a leading influence in the State Legis- 
lature, of each branch of which he was several times a member. 
He was one of those who, although too young to be an actor in 
the scenes of the Revolution, were yet molded by it in charac- 
ter. Early imbued with those views of American politics 
which were best represented perhaps by Mr. Jefferson, and 
which he shared in common with his father and elder brother, 
he was often called on to lead where such views only were tol- 
erated, and he continued to entertain them generally so long as 
he lived. Another son, George Washington, born August i), 
1781, married Miss Odingsells, settled at Little Ogeechee in 
Georgia, and died Nov. 5th, 1820, leaving a daughter, who 
grew to womanhood and married in Georgia. 


In 1784: there were born to the Rev. Thomas Allen twin 
sons, to whom he gave the names of Samuel Lee and William. 
In honor of the great event, the tradition is that he planted a 
double elm tree in front of his house, and the two shoots being 
twisted together grew as one. This tree still stands, the first 
large tree in East street, and must be, at this time, about one 
hundred years old. These sons were evidently favorites, lived 
and grew to manhood, and one of them to old age. Samuel 
accompanied his Aunt Lee (widow of the Rev. Moses Lee, who 
lost his life in Georgia) on a sea voyage to Savannah in 1800. 

William entered Harvard College and graduated in 1802, 
taught school a year at Brookline, succeeded William Ellery 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

Channing as assistant librarian and regent of the University at 
Cambridge, and while thus engaged, prepared and published at 
the age of 25, in 1809, his American Biographical and Histor- 
ical Dictionary. 

lie studied theology under Dr. John Pierce, became executor 
of his father's will and succeeded his father as minister at Pitts- 
field, of the Congregational society, August 10, 1810. lie wrote 
and published an able defence of his father, respecting contro- 
versies in the church, lie continued in this pastorate seven 
years, adding- fifty-seven members to the church; removed 
hence to Hanover, 'N. II., having married Maria Malleville, a 
daughter of Dr. John Wheelock, late president of Dartmouth 

He succeeded his father-in-law as president of Dartmouth 
University in IS 17, and remained three years, until the famous 
decision of the Supreme Court of the United States annulled 
the attempt to convert the College into a university, and then 
he removed to Brunswick, Me., where he succeeded Dr. Apple- 
ton as president of Bowdoin College in 1820. He filled that 
office about 19 years, when he removed to Northampton about 
1840, and lived there until his death in 1868. lie was a good 
writer and a very industrious, learned and good man, and his 
published writings are numerous. 

His twin brother, Samuel Lee, entered the service of the 
United States in the war of 1812, and served with fidelity and' 
good credit as captain in one of the regiments recruited here 
during the war and was, with his brother Elisha and his broth- 
ers-in-law, Gen. Ripley and Col. Breck, in most of the hard 
fought battles of the frontier. lie had command of Port 
Preble. Pie was universally respected in social, public and pri- 
vate life. He died of fever at the plantation of his brother, 
George W., at Ogeechee, Ga., August 10, 1816, at 32. 

Another son, Solomon Metcalf, born February IS, 17S9> was 
athletic and of active life and his father destined him to be a 
farmer. But becoming pious, his friends persuaded him to 
receive a college education, and he commenced the study of 
Latin at the age of 20. He made remarkable progress and 
graduated at Middlobury College, Vt., with high reputation as 

An Account of it Portion of the Allen Family. 71 

a scholar. During a year spent at Andover, besides attending 
to the customary studies of a theological school, he read a part 
of the New Testament in the Syriac language. After offi- 
ciating for two years as a tutor, he was chosen in [816 professor 

of the ancient languages, having risen to this honor in ^-.van 
years after commencing the study of Latin. At Andover he 
was one of a ''group of stars," seven in number, described by 
Carlos Wilcox. These were, with him, Sylvester Larned, of 
this town, who proved to he one of the most eloquent clergy- 
men of his age, A. M. Fisher, professor of mathematics in Vale 
College, Levi Parsons, Pliny Fisk and Joseph R. Andrus, 
missionaries, and Wilcox, the poet, every one of whom died 

" Ye were a group of .stars collected here, 

Some mildly glowing, others sparkling bright; 

Here rising in a region calm and clear, 

Ye shone awhile with intermingled light; 

Then [tailing, each pursuing his own (light 

O'er the wide hemisphere, ye singly shone; 

But ere ye climbed to half your promised height, 

Ye sunk again with brightening glory round your throne, 

Each left a brilliant track, as each expired alone." 

Respected and beloved by all his associates and acquaintances, 
the sudden and awful death of this promising young man over- 
whelmed them with sorrow. Being induced on account of 
a defect in the chimney to go, imprudently, upon the roof of 
the college building, he fell from it Sept. 23, IS 17, and in con- 
sequence died the same evening, aged 2S years. 

His numerous friends crowding around him in their anxiety, 
received his last words, which considering his extreme anguish 
at resigning all his fair prospects, were remarkable. He ex- 
claimed as he was expiring, "The Lord reigneth, let the earth 
rejoice! O Father, Thy will be done! so seemeth it good in 
Thy sight, Lord." 

The youngest, being the twelfth child of the Rev. Thomas 
Allen and the last of whom I shall speak in this connection, 
was Elisha Lee Allen, and born Dec. 8, 1702. He studied 
medicine and became assistant surgeon of the 21st regiment in 
the war of 1812, and attended it in its various engagements 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

upon the frontier. His account of the battle of Chippewa was 
published in the Boston Sentinel August 10, L814. In a letter 
to my father, describing the celebrated fight at Lundy's Lane, 
in which the contending armies came to close quarters, he said 
that one officer of his regiment was killed and six wounded, 
and that in the Oth regiment all but two officers were either 
killed or wounded. lie was retained, on the peace establish- 
ment May, 1815, and ordered south. In the faithful and fear- 
less performacee of his duty in attending upon siek soldiers 
attacked by yellow fever, he fell a victim to that terrible scourge 
at Pas Christian, La., Sept. 5, 1817. 

The Rev. Thomas Allen, having settled in this town in ITb'l", 
as its first minister, when its houses consisted principally of 
logs, commencing his church with but eight members, he con- 
tinued to preach here 40 years. His widow lived to be 82, 
and died in 1830, at my father's house, now occupied by Mr. 
John E. Merrill in the east part of Pittsfield. lie lived in 
times which "tiied meirs souls" and few men were more 
thoroughly tried than he. lie was not found wanting in any 
of the characteristics required by the age in the position in 
which he was placed. His first duty Avas given to the profes- 
sion to which he had been called and the 2700 sermons preached 
by him, and the growth and continuance of his society, furnish 
an indication of his zeal and industry. His views of political 
government, like those of his ancestors and of his predecessors 
in England, received a tinge from his views of the government 
of religious societies. As he would not have a prelate, a bish- 
op or even a synod, in his religious establishment, so he also 
became the active partisan of republicanism in the State. This 
was the most natural thing in the world for him, as the spirit 
which actuated him seems to have descended to him legiti- 
mately from those who resisted the ecclesiastical and political 
tyranny of the times just preceding the Long Parliament. 
"Our forefathers," said he, "left the delightful abodes of their 
native country, and passed a raging sea, that in these solitary 
climes they might enjoy civil and religious liberty, and never 
more feel the hand of tyranny and persecution. but that despotic, 
persecuting power which they tied, reached them on these far 

An Account of a Portion of the Allen Family. 73 

distant shores, the weight of which has been felt from their first 
emigration to the present day." Like Adams and Otis he was a 
leader in organizing resistance to the mother country, and any 
one who will take the pains to examine the language and senti- 
ments eontained in the memorials drawn up by him addressed 
to the General Assembly at Watertown in December, 1773, and 
May, 1776, in respect to the formation of a new constitution of 
government, and the instructions drawn up by him for the guid- 
ance of Pittsfield's representatives in the Legislature, will not 
fail to discern that hi? political sagacity and judgment in respect 
to the rights and principles to be secured in a new government, 
were not behind those disclosed in the Mecklenberg or the 
Virginia Declarations of Independence, or those of the most 
advanced statesmen of the time. Nor were his political zeal 
and patriotism expended in praying and exhorting at home. 
The active and energetic chairman of the Committee of Safety, 
he inspired his fellow-citizens both by precept and example. 
He sold half his real estate and lent the proceeds to the gov- 
ernment, taking his pay in continental paper money, which 
finally depreciated to nothing and was repudiated. 

lie went out personally with the soldiers at Ticonderoga, 
Lake George, and White Plains, and the Hrst bullet which 
whizzed at the enemy at the battle of Bennington, went out 
of the gun pointed by him, and carried and emphasized the 
sentiments he entertained. That a controversy, arising out of 
opposition to his views of political duty, should have sprung 
up in his religious society and parish, and led those who had 
been tories and subsequently federalists, to withdraw and hold 
separate meetings in the building they erected on South street, 
was perhaps a logical sequence, or natural outcrop of the spirit 
of the times. Threatened with seizure by those who enlisted 
in Shay's rebellion, he slept with arms in his bedroom. That 
he was persecuted and slandered to that extent that committees 
of the parish had to defend him, that one of his sons was con- 
strained to pillory his enemies in a book, and that two others 
could not be restrained from administering personal chastise- 
ment on two or three occasions where moral suasion had no 
effect, are facts which bear to us the evidence of the height of 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

party spirit and memorials of troubles experienced in tlic throes 
of revolution. Jle lived to rejoice in the prevalence of the 
political views to which he had been so long devoted, and in 
which he had so little sympathy from the contemporary clergy. 

And to the very last he indulged the habit of inculcating true 
religion and sound politics at the same time. In his Election 
sermon, preached at Boston in 180S, two years before his death, 
he said to those in office: 

"Elevated to places of trust by the people, they repose con- 
fidence in your virtue and patriotism and expect you to be 
governed by the principles and spirit of the gospel of Christ. 
The foundation of the noble edifice, on which you stand, is the 
public opinion expressed in the Constitution." 

"The people of Massachusetts confide in you to support our 
national government in the wise measures which it adopts for 
the safety of our maritime wealth ; and in its endeavors to 
bring hostile nations to a sense of their injustice towards us and 
their outrages upon us. We can have but one voice in the 
final result, and that voice will be, our trade shall be free, our 
countrymen shall be protected on the ocean." 

Again he said, "It is to the gospel of Christ so early planted 
in this country, to its sacred principles, to its influence on the 
consciences of men, to its spirit formed in their hearts, and to 
the smiles of Divine Providence, that we owe all our blessings, 
and all the joys of this day. True godliness inspires a regard 
to the public good, that our constitution of government was 
formed ; and it is owing to the intelligence and virtue of the 
people that its principles have been preserved, notwithstanding 
any design of altering its spirit." 

"Our republican form of government depends for its contin- 
uance upon the public opinion and the public morals; and it is 
necessary that the public opinion should be enlightened, and 
not debased by corruption, by luxury, by covetousness, love of 
pleasure, pride, by desire of conquest, and the loss of all sense 
of honor; and it is necessary that the citizens should be actuated 
by principles of true godliness. So long as this is the case, we 
shall remain the envy of nations and the glory of all lands." 

An Account of a Portion of tho Allen Family. 75 

The very numerous sermons preached by Mr. Allen being in 
short hand, no one lias been able to decipher them. From 
what he published and from tradition, we judge that his style 
of preaehing was earnest and effective, and very much imbued 
with the imagery and language of the Scriptures. His relig- 
ious doctrines may be inferred from the following paragraph 
in his Historical Sketch of Berkshire and Pittsfield in 1808: 

"The church in this town was instituted on the Calvinistic 
system, in which sentiments it has ever continued steadfast unto 
this day. But whilst it is tenacious of its own principles in 
religion, it maintains a spirit of candor towards such as differ 
from them. This church believes in the doctrine of total de- 
pravity, or that, before men are born of God, and become con- 
verted, they have no true holiness. The necessity of efficacious 
grace in regeneration, the doctrine of the Trinity, divinity of 
Christ and of the Saviour, salvation by grace and the necessity 
and importance of using the means of grace in order to conver- 
sion and growth in grace. The perseverance of the saints, the 
last resurrection and eternal judgment, and endless rewards 
and punishments in the world to come." 

He was remarkable for the strength of those affections which 
give a charm to domestic and social life, albeit they also gave 
poignancy to the arrows of affliction. His first-born daughter 
dying in London, while her husband was in the East Indies, 
and she unprotected by any relatives, he encountered in 1791) 
the dangers of a voyage across the Atlantic and brought his 
grandchild home to his own family. This voyage, with its 
attendant sufferings and interesting incidents, is worthy of a 
special chapter. The sermon he preached upon the death of 
this daughter was republished by Mr. W. G. Bryant in his 
Evening Post of April 5, 1856, with the remark, "Mr. Allen 
was remarkable as one of the very few New England clergy of 
his time, who were democrats. The funeral sermon on the 
death of his daughter, of which we give an account below, was 
admired for its pathos, and the young men of the neighboring 
county committed passages of it to memory." Bryant himself 
was one of them, his mother at Oummington repeating passages 
to him. 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

TCev. Dr. William Allen, who succeeded his father in the 
Pittsfield pulpit, in a letter to Dr. William 1>. Sprague, wrote 
the following description of some personal characteristics and 

of his last illness and death : 

"My father was of middle height, and slender, vigorous and 
aetive; of venerable gray hairs in his age; of a mild, pleasant, 
afi'eetionate countenance; hospitable to all visitors, and always 
the glad welcomer of his friends. As he was very honest and 
frank, and had a keen sense of right and wrong, as he lived 
when high questions were debated, it is not strange that those 
whom he felt himself ealled on to oppose, should have some- 
times charged him with indiscreet zeal; but he cherished no 
malice, and his heart was always kind and tender. Simple 
and courteous in his manners, sincere in his communications, 
and just in his dealings, he set his parishioners an example of 
Christian morals." "The atonement of the Divine Redeemer, 
the evangelical doctrines of grace and their application to the 
practical duties of life in the various relations of society, were 
the favorite subjects of his public sermons and private conver- 
sations. He explained them without the formality of logic, 
but with a happy perspicuity of style and recommended and 
enforced them with apostolic zeal. 

" As he wrote out most of his sermons in Wister's shorthand, 
he usually in his preaching read them from his notes, but he 
threw into them, with but little action, great fervor of spirit. 
Sometimes in his extemporary addresses at the communion 
table, his trembling voice and kindling eye and animated 
countenance, Were quite irresistible. 

"Besides his stated labors on the Sabbath," he continued, 
"he frequently delivered lectures, and in the course of his 
ministry preached six or seven hundred sermons. 

"His health had been declining for several years. As he 
approached the grave, he cherished a bright and joyous Chris- 
tian hope; no fears, no doubts overclouded it. On the all 
sufficient Saviour he rested with perfect confidence, frequentlj 7 
exclaiming, 'Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.' Deeply im- 
pressed with a sense of his dependence on God, he continually 
besought his friends to pray for him. When reminded of his 

An Account of a Portion of the Allen Family. 77 

great labors in the service of his Lord, lie disclaimed all merit 
"for what he had done, although he expressed his persuasion 
that he had faithfully preached the gospel. When one of 
his children, a day or two before his death, pressed him to take 
some nourishment, on the ground that it would otherwise be 
impossible for him to live, he replied, 'Live! I am going to 
live forever!'" 



I have never heard any reason assigned for the giving of the 
name of Berkshire to this county, when it was set off from 
Hampshire and incorporated as a separate county in 1761. I 
have lately become aware of a fact which may throw some 
light upon the subject. 

The change took place, as we know, under the governorship 
of Francis Bernard, afterward Sir Francis. Before his time — 
as Mr. Whitmore in his essay on the origin of the names of 
towns in Massachusetts suggests — the incorporators of towns 
(and, we may suppose, of counties) were allowed to choose the 
names for themselves, but after 1700 it was the custom for the 
Governor to write as the town's name whatever name he 
pleased when signing the act of incorporation. 

Governor Bernard was related by marriage to the Barring- 
tons, Viscount Barrington, a nephew of Governor Shute, of 
Massachusetts, being his wife's cousin. Viscount Barrington 
was a member of the Privy Council, Secretary at War, Chan- 
cellor of the Exchequer, Arc, and it was doubtless in his honor 
that Great Barrington was named by Governor Bernard. 
Governor Bernard. also commemorated his family in the name 
of the town of Tyringham (incorporated in 1702), Bernard 
being descended from the Tyringham family and becoming its 
representative in 1709. Sir Thomas Tyringham Bernard, of 
AVinchendon Priory, Bucks, died May 8, 1883, in his 92d year, 
and at his death the title became extinct, (see London Illus- 
trated News of May 19, 1883). It is probable that Gov. Ber- 
nard chose the name of Berkshire for the new county, as Berk- 
shire County in England adjoins Hampshire, and in it is the 
family residence of the Barrington family, which is called 
Becket, the name which in 1705 was given by Bernard to our 


■i' y 

Berkshire Historical Society. 

neighboring town. Becket, which is near Shrivenham in the 
English Berkshire, not far from the famous White Horse vale, 
made so familiar to us by "School Days at Rugby," was 
formerly called Becote, and belonged to the Priory of Norion 
in Normandy. It was seized by King John in 1204, and he 
probably resided there at times. A mandate of his to the 
Sheriff of Oxfordshire, the next county, is dated from Becket. 
The family of DeBeckote held the place on the singular tenure 
of meeting the King whenever he should pass Fowyear's Mill 
Bridge in Shrivenham, with two white capons in their hands, 
and saying, "Ecce Domine istos duo capones quos alias habe- 
bitis sed non nunc" (See, my Lord, these two capons, which 
you shall have some other time but not now.") 

iVs Becket, Barrington and Tyringham were all named by 
Gov. Bernard, and as Berkshire County was incorporated in 
his time, it seems to me highly probable that he would be 
influenced by the same associations in naming that as in naming 
the town, and that the name of Berkshire is thereby accounted 

Of course this is not in the least a demonstrated fact, but in 
the absence, so far as I know, of any other evidence, it seems 
a satisfactory explanation. I should be glad to hear of any 
better one. 

P. S.— Isaac Taylor says, "The Nottingham pshire mote was 
held under an oak in Sherwood (Shire-wood) forest, and the 
county of Berks derives its name from a bare oak, beside which 
the Shire mote met. 



By S. P. PARKER, D. D. 


The recollections of the past, whether of the church or of 
the world, are memories of joys and sorrows. The Duke of 
Wellington said, that the next saddest event to a defeat was a 
victory. The funeral dirge and the funeral muffled drum 
mingle their plaintive sounds with the huzza and the song of 
triumph. The victories of the church are the story of the 
patience of the Saints; of their witness unto death; of their 
faith which never faltered ; of their zeal which never cooled ; 
of their love which never tired. A candidate for Holy Orders, 
[ came to Lenox in 1832, and was ordained Deacon in St. 
Peter's, Salem, in 1834, by Bishop QriswolcL His residence 
in Salem happened on this wise. After the murder of the rich 
old Mr. White of Salem, by his nephews, a murder which hor- 
rified the whole country, nobody could he procured to live in 
that blood-stained mansion ; and so holy Bishop Griswold was 
offered it rent free for many years, by the family, that he 
might exercise it by his godly presence. 

There were in 1834 four Episcopal churches in all Berkshire 
county: St. dames' church, Great Barring-ton, organized in 
1761 or '62; St. Luke's, Lanesboro, organized in 1767; Trinity 
church, Lenox, organized in 1774; St. Paul's church, Otis, in 
1829. Political prejudices, owing to the accidental connection 
of the Episcopal church with the officers of the British govern- 
ment, at the Revolution, repressed the growth of our churches 
for many years, notwithstanding that Washington, the com- 
mander of the Continental army, and Bishop White, a chaplain 
in the Continental army, were churchmen. And so we had 
but one addition to our churches in Berkshire for 60 years. 

In contrast, to-day a tier of twelve Episcopal churches 
stretches from Vermont to Connecticut, across the whole west- 



Berkshire Historical Society. 

ern part of Massachusetts. These churches are at Williams- 
town, North Adams, South Adams, Lanesboro, Pittsfield, 
Lenox, Otis, Lee, Stockbridge, Van Deusenville, Great Har- 
rington, Sheffield. 

The picturesque scenery of Berkshire county lias its corres- 
pondence in the character of its inhabitants. By reason of 
their separation from the rest of Massachusetts by mountain 
walls, and the consequent isolation of the people, they have 
retained in a large measure their unmixed Saxon blood and 
simple ways. In the great schism and heresy, which rent the 
Evangelicdl churches in Massachusetts seventy years ago, and 
which severed so much of the culture, the learning, the talent, 
the wealth of the Puritans of Massachusetts from the ecclesias- 
tical relations and the faith of their Fathers, and which seduced 
so many of them into the denial of the divinity of their Lord, 
and of the Inspiration, the Miracles, the historical veracity of 
the Bible, Berkshire county continued to present an unbroken 
front of orthodoxy. Unitarianism has never obtained ecclesi- 
astical foothold among these mountains. The Episcopal church 
had a mission here, and has fultilled it, to open a refuge to 
those dissatisfied with surrounding systems, yet holding fast 
the Faith once delivered; to proclaim the truths of a Divine 
Redeemer, of a Heavenly Sanctifier, of an atonement for the 
sins of the whole world, and of a free salvation. 

It was her privilege from God, to have as her Standard 
Bearer, Bishop Griswold, apostolic in character, in presence 
and office; meek, holy, he illustrated our church by person 
and example. Many characteristic anecdotes are told of him. 
During religious excitement in the town where he was pastor, 
a zealot called upon him, and reproached him for his lack of 
vital piety. "I do not wonder at what you say," replied the 
Bishop, " my life does so little honor to religion." The fanatic 
expected a far different reply, and begged the Bishop's pardon. 
On another occasion, while residing at Bristol, R. I., he had an 
appointment of an Episcopal visitation, in a church some miles 
distant. In order to keep it, he must cross the Bristol ferry, 
where I remember to have seen the waves higher than I ever 
saw thern in the Atlantic. A great storm came up and made 

History of Episcopal Church in Berkshire County. *5 

it dangerous to cross the ferry. Nothing daunted, the Bishop 
told the ferry-man that lie must and would take the risk. The 
Bishop stretched himself flat on the bottom of the boat, crossed, 
and kept his appointment. Again, in the course of a visitation 
of Vermont, he lodged at the house of an humble parishioner. 
The Bishop quietly took his seat in the room where the young 
children were playing, and wrote his sermon. The good wo- 
man of the family expressed her regret at the noise of the little 
children. "Madam," said the Bishop, "they do not disturb 
me any more than the songs of the birds.' 1 

Wherever, in city or in country, Bishop Griswold officiated, 
he was honored and beloved outside of the church and within. 
Spotless, plain, kind to all, with a venerable face, commanding 
figure, uncommon good sense, and great simplicity and meek- 
ness, it seemed to people as if one of the Apostles stepped forth 
from the tomb and ministered unto them. By his modesty, he 
conciliated the respect of the community to the Episcopal 
church, in the midst of strangers and enemies. 1 call to mind 
the text of his sermon at the consecration of the second edifice 
of St. James' church, Great Barrington. He took the passage 
from Nehemiah : "Even that which they build, if a fox go 
up, he shall even break down their stone wall!" 

But there are other servants of God farther back in the past, 
who were content to toil and to suffer, and who asked none 
other reward than that they might upbuild God's church. 
These churches are the costly memorials, dear to God and to 
man, of the tears, the toils, the sufferings of your fathers, long- 
gathered to their rest. There is none other heritage more pre- 
cious than these. I have no wish to revive animosities that 
have died. But it is my duty as an historian to record the fact 
that the foundations of St. James' church, Great Barrington, 
were laid in suffering. St. James' church to-day stands the 
witness of the martyr-assertion of the Rights of Conscience; of 
the brave vindication of Religious Liberty. The persecutions 
which its founders endured were the faults of the age, the 
descendants of which have learned far better. God be praised, 
that good will and christian love have taken the place of fines 
and of the pillory. But honor to the memory of intrepid 

■■#. I 


Berhsh ire Historical Society. 

churchmen, who shrunk not from these. But while we engrave 
on our hearts the lesson of courage in behalf of right, let the 
other lesson be eternal there, that the most excellent way of 
spreading the truth, first, midst, last, is charity towards those 
who differ from us. 

It is the privilege of St. James' church, Great Harrington, 
to possess the autograph records of its first pastor, the Reverend 
Gideon Bostwick. His official register records ministrations 
spread over and beyond the county, and reads like the story of 
the victories of the primitive church. A graduate of Yale 
college, he was forced, in common with all our clergy in those 
days, to cross the seas, and to sail to England for Episcopal 
ordination. Returning, he began his labors in 1 770 as a mis- 
sionary of the venerable society for the propagation of the 
gospel in foreign |>arts, the earliest Protestant missionary 
society in existence; and which did so much as the pioneer of 
the Episcopal church in tin; American colonies. He had two 
principal stations, — Great Harrington and LanesborO. But his 
unwearied circuit stretched from New Milford, Ct, to Hudson, 
and to the region of Albany, embracing Arlington in Vermont 
and towns in New Hampshire. lie journeyed chietiy in the 
saddle, through the forests, guided by marked trees. He had 
forty-seven mission stations. There is hardly a town in this 
region where he lias not recorded his official acts. Several of 
these towns have since changed their names, lie baptized 2279 
children, SI adults, married 127 couples, and buried an army 
of the dead. He is said to have been " a faithful and godly 
man; indefatigable' in his labors, courteous and affable in his 
manners, of a facetious humor, and much beloved." lie died 
in 1793, aged 50 years. What an enviable career! What an 
Apostolic record. To his tireless work of faith, and to his 
primitive zeal may be directly traced the hand of God, in the 
spread of our church in Berkshire county, lie sowed broad- 
cast the seed, which, like the Banyan tree, growing from a 
single root, has struck deep in the soil downward, and borne 
rich fruit upward all over Berkshire. 

Standing on the mountain top that guards the north part of 
our county, and looking south, we may behold at its foot three 

History of Episcopal Oliurchin Berkshire County. 87 

churches, the fruit, in time, of Father Bostwick's labors, at 
Williamstown, North Adams and South Adams. The Rev. 
Dr. Shaw, rector of St. Luke's, Lauesboro, as early as L835 hold 
services in North Adams. Rev. Dr. Tatlock, and the Rev. Mr. 

Weeks and others labored in North Adams and South Adams, 
with an occasional service in Williamstown. We have now a 
private chapel, held in trust for the church, at Williamstown ; 
a beautiful stone church costing some §30,000, at North 
Adams, built by Mrs. Hiram Sibley of Rochester; and another 
stone church promised in South Adams, by the liberality of 
Mr. L. L. Brown, under the influence of Mrs. Brown. How 
much women have done for the church of God, since Mary 
broke the spikenard over the Savior's feet! 

St. Luke's church, Lanesboro, re-echoes the praises of Father 
Bostwick, and witnesses to the fruits of his work. lie officiated 
there every fourth Sunday. A generation of godly men, pure 
and pious, belonging to that ancient parish, consecrated their 
moderate wealth to the church. It has a fund of $10,000, and 
a glebe of twenty-eight acres, a parsonage, and a burial ground 
of two acres. Blessed be the memory of the donors. Mr. 
William Bradley gave the, lot on which the church stands, and 
twenty-eight acres. The burial ground was given by Mr. Josiah 
Bacon. The largest donors to the fund were Mr. Ephraim 
Bradley, who gave a farm; Mr. Laban Lasell, who likewise 
gave a farm. Other liberal gifts were made by Nehemiah 
Talcott, Eli Bradley, Peter B. Curtiss, Jason Newton, William 
II. Bradley. This parish had only four rectors during the first 
hundred years.. 

When I came to this county, the Reverend Samuel Brinton 
Shaw ministered to this parish during a faithful pastorate of 
thirty-four years. He still lives, and leads a life of prolonged 
usefulness, in Providence, R. I., at the age of SO years. His 
memory is held in respectful affection in Lanesboro and Pitts- 
field. Dr. Shaw is the oldest Episcopal clergyman in orders 
in New England. Plain, simple, mingling agricultural labors 
with those of his sacred profession, he united the parish as one 
man, and seemed to link modern times with the simple ages of 
the forefathers of New England, 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

St. Stephen's, Pittsfield, was organized about 1S35, by the 
zeal of two wealthy laymen, the Hon. Edward A. Newton and 
Jlosea Merrill, Esq. Mr. Newton had resided in India, under 
Bishop Heber. He was an aetive and useful member of our 
General and Diocesan conventions, and made himself felt 
throughout the church. lie had an extensive and choice theo- 
logical library, which he freely lent to the clergy. Through 
his instrumentality Dr. Eastburn became Bishop of Massachu- 
setts, and rector of Trinity church, Boston. 

The first rector of St. Stephen's, Pittsh'eld, Dr. Edward Bal- 
lard, was a man of a very lovely temper. lie once told me 
that he never remembered being angry in his life. lie was a 
well read theologian, and a good scholar. So much was he 
valued in the State of Maine, that in addition to his pastorate 
at Brunswick, he was made Superintendent of the public 
schools of the State for many years. 

Trinity church, Lenox, another nursling of Father Bost- 
wick, bears like witness to the zeal of her children. After 
many years of usefulness, this venerable parish decayed, and 
threatened to become extinct, (hit the sturdy fidelity of a 
few churchmen originally from Connecticut continued to up- 
hold it. Above all, the extraordinary efforts of one poor maiden 
lady saved it. Miss Quincy, a relative of the Quincy family 
of illustrious Revolutionary memory, kept the church alive and 
its editice in repair, long after the death or removal of all its 
male communicants save one. God blessed her faith, and sent 
an inrush of summer residents and summer visitors, churchmen 
and women of great wealth, to Lenox, in answer to Miss Quin- 
cy's toils and prayers. A transept has now been added, but is 
still inadequate to accommodate its throngs in summer. 

The church at Otis was a graft from Lenox, and was organ- 
ized about 1830, by the Rev. B. C. C. Parker, rector at Lenox, 
and the lion. Lester Filley, an active and honored layman then 
living in Otis. 

St. Paul's, Stockbridge, is a lineal child of Trinity church, 
Lenox. In 1884, \)v. Hyde, of Lenox, was made President of 
the Banlc at Stockbridge, and removed thither. He immedi- 
ately organized a parish. During eight years, serviees were 

History of Episcopal Church in .Berkshire County. 89 

held in a school house, and for one year in the Town house. 
After all this lapse of time, only $1400 in money and lumber 
could be procured in the town and vicinity for a church edifice. 
I>y the help of churchmen in Boston and New York, $2,000 
more were collected, and a chapel was built after plans furnished 
by Upjohn. This building suggested the idea of the battened 
architecture, copied all over the country. A tower was built 
by the Rev. Dr. Pynchon, now President of Trinity College, 
and a clock was presented by G. P. P. James, the novelist. In 
1871-2 a transept was added by the Rev. II. F. Allen, for the 
growing congregation. Here is another parish which now 
counts among its congregation many churchmen of wealth and 
influence, and its full share of the humble and the poor. 

St. George's church, Lee, organized in 1S56, by the Hon. 
Lester Filley, took its name from St. George's church, New 
York, in consequence of liberal help from that church, through 
its Rector, the venerable Dr. Stephen II. Tyng. It has passed 
through the fire three times. First, the hall in which it wor- 
shipped, was burned. Next, two church edifices in succession, 
one of wood and the other of stone, were the victims of the 
flames. But in the merciful Providence of God, it has arisen 
each time, Phoenix-like, -from its ashes, and stands to-day in 
new beauty, a stone structure of finished elegance. For many 
years its pastor was the Reverend Dr. George Chapman, known 
throughout the whole church for his Book of Sermons on Epis- 
copacy. These strong and sound discourses have made more 
converts to the Episcopal church in America than any other 
theological publications. 

I come now, in geographical order, to the parish of St. 
James, Great Barrington, and to what originally was a chapel, 
but now is a separate church, Trinity, Van Deusenville. I 
never saw the inside of the first edifice of St. James; but I well 
remember its remarkable array of glass windows. The story 
goes, that a churchman of Boston offered to furnish the glass 
for the new building, and so it was built pretty much all of 
glass. Church architecture has improved greatly within my 
recollection. Your admirable stone church, beautiful of situa- 
tion and material, is hardly exceeded in Massachusetts in ini- 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

pressivenessof exterior; while Trinity church, Van Deusenville, 
may pride itself on an interior whieh for gracefulness, and ease 
for the voice, is hardly equalled by any edifice in the State west 
of the Connecticut river. This church owes this mainly to the 
generosity and good taste of John II. Coth'ng of Van Deusen- 
ville. An incident occurred, worthy of remembrance from the 
lesson which it teaches. On the separation of Trinity church, 
Van Deusenville, in 1837, from the mother parish, Bishop 
Griswold sent me to take charge of the new parish. There 
had been an interregnum in the services, and during this inter- 
regnum, the chapel at Van Deusenville had been granted to 
our friends, the Methodists. On the first Sunday of my rec- 
torship, on arriving at the church door, a young Methodist 
clergyman occupied the desk, by mistake. Our people asked 
me what they should do. " Follow me," I replied, " and unite 
with our friends in their worship." They all took my advice, 
and it was soon openly declared that the Methodists could not 
establish a church in Van Deusenville, for there was no perse- 
cution. Hosts of venerable forms rise up and stand before me 
in these two churches: The Van Deusens, the Stones, the 
Adamses, the Ilobinses, the Seeleys, the Balls, the Gilberts, 
father and son, the Spragues, the JPynchons, the ltosseters, the 
Hurlbuts, the Whitings, the Seymours, the Ilollenbecks, the 
Moores, the Popes, Mrs. Bigelow, the Itussells. 

When I took orders, the Rev. Sturges Gilbert was Rector of 
the two churches; a godly man, trained in the masculine 
churchmanship of Connecticut, he discharged a ministry of 
great activity. He was endowed with strong sense, and deliv- 
ered weekly lectures in school houses all over his large parish, 
which stretched from Stockbridge to Egremont, and gathered 
in a large agricultural and manufacturing population. I was 
feeble in health, and inexperienced, and remember with fond 
gratitude his kindness and encouragement. There still burn in 
my heart delightful associations with your beautiful old par- 
sonage wherein he made me at home, and wherein I passed 
many a happy hour. 

Friends bound to me by intimacy, and endeared to me by the 
memory of their fidelity and talent followed Mr. Gilbert as 

History of Episcopal Church in Berkshire County. 01 

your Hectors: The Rev. Samuel Hassard, eminent for liis piety 
and classical purity of his English; the Reverend Mi'. Woart, 
whom I knew of old, and formerly Rector of Christ's church, 
Boston; the philosophic and able Mr. Field, now for so many 
years Rector of Trinity church, Lenox; the refined and elegant 
scholar, Rev. C. A. L. Richards; the faithful Mr. Piatt, under 
whom your present church edifice was built; the enthusiastic 
and energetic Prof. J. T. Huntington; the excellent and evan- 
gelic Dr. Eccleston, my old neighbor on Staten Island; the 
lovely Dr. Dennison; the churchly Dr. Chapman; the saintly 
Lewis Greene, the amiable \)\\ Penniman, the staunch and 
sound churchman Dr. Olmsted; my warm-hearted friend, Mr. 
Starkey ; with others whom I did not know, constitute an array 
of faithful ministers, the memories of whom press their undy- 
ing claims on your gratitude. 

Christ church, Sheffield, brings up the rear of this sisterhood 
of churches; the youngest and the extreme southern church of 
Berkshire. It is the offspring of St. James' church, Great 
Barrington, under the lead of the Rev. Dr. Eccleston, supple- 
mented by the zeal of its own members", and the liberality of 
New York churchmen. But time admonishes me that I must 
draw to a close these memories. 

At the time I was graduated, the Massachusetts clergy did 
not exceed twelve or fourteen, and the churches sixteen or 
eighteen. Our Massachusetts clergy now are one hundred and 
fifty, and our parishes one hundred and twenty, with some 
twenty mission stations. The Bishops of our whole church 
were only eight or ten. They now number sixty. The Epis- 
copal churches throughout the United States did not then ex- 
ceed three hundred. They now are about three thousand. The 
annual offering of the Episcopal church amounted this last year 
to over $0,500,000 ! 

Thus the years roll on. The world thinks not that Christ is 
on the throne, ever uniting the toils, the sufferings, the sacri- 
fices of His church with His own sufferings on the cross, and 
with His glory. Our parishes to-day rest on Christ, our chief 
corner stone. But like the old Cathedrals, their human foun- 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

dations lie out of sight of men's eyes. The arch, the buttressed 
wall, the fretted roof, the spire, are the work of the skilled 
architect, and hardy workmen, whose names the world lias well 
nigh forgotten. But they are remembered by God. Being 
dead, they yet speak to men. 


Berkshire Historical 


Scientific Society 





Prefatory Note. 

The more distinctive feature of the present number, of our published 
papers is the Memorial in two parts to the first President of our Society, 
Alexander Hyde of Lee ; the primary one by our own associate and his 
pastor, Rev. Mr. Rowland; and the secondary one by his college classmate 
and life-long friend, our late associate, Mr. Canning of Stockbridge. The 
former, as is fitting, is more elaborate and complete in all the details of a 
singularly interesting life ; the latter, more fragmentary throughout and 
more striking in places, is just what we might expect of one life-compan- 
ion characterizing another, when both had been boys together, and had 
grown up into old age within easy hailing distance of each other. 

It is now nearly twenty years since the Berkshire Historical and Scien- 
tific society was instituted at Pittsrield. The majority of its framers were 
elderly men. More than half of these, it is probable, have already knocked 
at the gate upon the other shore. Alexander Hyde was the original presi- 
dent. After serving modestly yet effectively for two years, he insisted 
upon giving official way to Joseph White of Williamstown, who served in 
like manner for three years. The latter, after his resignation, so long as 
he was physically able to do so, continued to attend the regular meetings 
of the Society, and afforded his successor all the countenance and assistance 
he possibly could. The Society now publicly commemorates in the pres- 
ent number of its transactions, its first deceased president; and has also 
devolved by vote upon the present writer the duty of preparing for some 
future number a paper in memory of our second honored president, Joseph 
White. This custom, so inaugurated, will doubtless be kept up in the 
time to come. 

Our Societ} r as well as its public can not fail to be gratified by the pub- 
lication in this form of the careful essay by Professor Spring on "Mark 
Hopkins, Teacher." Subject and writer in this instance come together 
naturally and easily, with results equally pleasurable and satisfactory. 
Hopkins is probably the most noted native of Berkshire, and certainly the 
most successful teacher in its college during its first century. Professor 
Spring confines himself in this paper to a single phase, though the most 
important phase of the activities of a great personality. The more pro- 
found and comprehensive task of delineating the entire character of such 
a man as Mark Hopkins has been undertaken and accomplished by Pro- 
fessor Bascom in a paper read before the Society several years ago. For- 
tunately its publication by us has been delayed for good reasons, so that 
the present production of Prof. Spring, which may be regarded as in some 
sense preliminary and preparatory, appears first. We can promise our 

readers the publication of Professor Bascom's broader and deeper, though 
not more interesting and truthful, portraiture, in about two years. 

A thorough and well-directed piece of work is Rev. A. B. Whipple's 
characterization of Governor Briggs, which concludes our present number. 
There is a good biography of the good Governor in a bound volume ; but 
all the essential features of a unique and most useful life, together with 
much that is new and important, may be found in the present labor of 
love of the writer's college classmate and friend. Already enough of our 
Society's work has been printed and is accessible, to show that we deem 
ourselves charged by our constituents, that is, by the people of the entire 
county, to gather up and to preserve in presentable shape for posterity 
the records of all those men and women of thecounty, who, in any unusual 
and self-denying way, have served their generation and fallen on sleep. 

It only remains to say at this time, that our held -meeting at "Balance 
Rock" in Lanesboro' on the 30th of July just past, came near to a full 
realization of the ideal of our annual summer gathering, namely, a holiday 
for the people of both ends and all parts of the county, for the purposes of mu- 
tual acquaintance, some scientific instruction, goodwill and good neighborliood, 
and socialimpromment generally . Our other quarterly meetings are held 
uniformly in the Athenaeum at Pittsfield on the first Thursda} r of Novem- 
ber, February and May. The summer field-day migrates all over the 
county, and is held on the last Thursday in July. At aHmeetings alike 
the public are welcomed. a. l. p. 

Williamstown, Aug. 7, 1896. 




An interesting series of brief biographies is now in process 
of publication under the general title of "Makers of America." 
The object is to present to the people of the country in the 
most accessible form possible an account of the lives and labor 
of those leaders in church and state who have notably contri- 
buted to make the nation what it is. The design is a most 
commendable one, and promises much in the way of popular 
enlightenment and as a stimulus to patriotism. The plan 
might well be extended into the minuter fields of local history. 
Why would it not be a wise thing to have a series of papers 
before this body on the Makers of Berkshire? The county has 
a somewhat unique place among its sisters of this Common- 
wealth. Its comparatively isolated position during the first 
hundred years of its history and its mountainous nature seem 
to have been specially favorable to the development both of 
county patriotism and of individualty of character. Is there 
another county in the state where such an observance as the 
Berkshire Festival of 1844 would have been possible? Is there 
another county that, in proportion to its population, has pro- 
duced so many men of marked personality and power? There 
were giants in those days, each with a character of his own, 
but also with certain features of resemblance which we may 
denominate the Berkshire type, of whose combined influence 
through two or three generations the modern Berkshire is the 
grand result. They should not be left without some memorial, 
if nowhere else, at least in the archives of this society. The 
chief embarassment of such a series, I imagine, would be one 
of riches, for scores of names come at once to the minds of all 
familiar with our history as worthy of such commemoration. 
By no means the last among them is that of Deacon Alexander 



Berks/tire Historical Society. 

Hyde of Lee, one of the founders, and the first president of 

the Berkshire Historical Society. 

Mr. Hyde sprang from the best New England stock. His 
first ancestor of the name in America was William Hyde, who 
came with Rev. Thomas [looker from England in 1033, re- 
mained a short time at Newton, now Cambridge, and removed 
with him to Hartford in 1030. He was one of the original 
proprietors of the Hartford Colony. The lot assigned to him, 
as appears by the plot in the history of the First Church of 
Hartford, was near what is now Capital Avenue, not far from 
the South Church. His son and only child, Samuel, is said to 
have been the first white child born in Hartford. William 
Hyde removed to SaybrOok, and later in 1000, to Norwich, of 
which place he was one of the original settlers, and for many 
years, a leading citizen, being the first magistrate of the town, 
and frequently selectman. Norwich remained the seat of the 
family for many generations, and here Alvan Hyde, the father 
of Alexander, was born in 1708. The latter was of the seventh 
generation in descent from the first settler. The wife of Rev. 
Alvan Hyde, and mother of Alexander, was Lucy Fessenden 
of Sandwich, Mass. If, as is possible, she was of Pilgrim de- 
scent, Deacon Hyde furnishes another illustration among count- 
less ones that might be cited, of the happy results that came 
from the combinations of the Puritan and the Pilgrim strains. 

Mr. Hyde was the youngest of the eleven children and nine 
sons of Rev. .Dr. Hyde, and was born in Lee, Sept. 25, 1814. 
Dr. Hyde the father, from whom as it would seem the son de- 
rived some of his characteristics, was in many respects a remark- 
able man. Without the gifts of genius, with no claim to 
learning, through the happy combination of common qualities, 
supplemented by the spirit of piety penetrating his nature 
through and through, and leading to the best possible use of 
all his powers, he is to be reckoned among the first of that no- 
table circle of divines which at the beginning of the century 
made up the Congregational ministry of Berkshire. As a pas- 
tor he was probably without a superior in the State. He came 
to the Church in 1792 in the feebleness of its infancy, raised it 
at once to strength and prosperity, and left it at his death in 

Deacon Alexander ^11 yde. 07 

1833 after a pastorate of forty-one years, one of the most flour- 
ishing in Western Massachusetts. Nearly seven hundred were 
added to its membership during his ministry, the most of them 
the product of powerful revivals which attended his ministry 
almost with the regularity of the processes of nature. Dr. 
Ileman Humphrey said of Dr. Hyde: "As a pastor Dr. Hyde 
was seeond to no minister with whom I have ever been acquaint- 
ed." Dr. Mark Hopkins said of him : "On the whole, so far 
as my knowledge of Dr. Hyde extends, I can truly say that I 
have never known any one with less that I eould wish other- 
wise, or who might more safely be held up as a model of a 
Christian minister and pastor." 

There could be no better place for a child to be born in than 
such a home. All the circumstances must have helped to lay 
strong the foundations of character. Plain living and high 
thinking were combined in the discipline of the large house- 
hold. How such a family could have been maintained in such 
a degree of respectability, and educated up to the highest stand- 
ard of the time on a salary of six or seven hundred dollars, the 
largest that Dr. Hyde ever received, is among the mysteries. 
There must have been some secret of management in the house- 
hold that is now among the lost arts. Economy we know had 
to be practiced to the last extreme of possibility. Mr. William 
Hyde once told me that he went to college proudly clad in a 
coat made with his mother's own hands from her wedding 
cloak. Hut from this home all the children spared to maturity 
went out to honored and useful lives, and all with the paren- 
tal stamp deep upon them. Four of the nine sons were gradu- 
ates of Williams College. One, Alvan, Jr. became a clergy- 
man and died early in his pastorate in Ohio. Another, Joseph, 
was for many years a successful teacher in Sheih'eld in this 
county, and afterwards treasurer of the American Bible society. 
A third, William, studied law but afterwards engaged in the 
banking business in the town of Ware, becoming widely known 
throughout all Western Massachusetts for his Christian leader- 
ship in every good cause, and for the wise beneficence with 
which he used his ample means. Several of the largest Scholar- 
ships in Williams College were his gift to his Alma Mater. 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

The fourth was the subject of this sketch, whose lot it was to 
inherit the old homestead, and to perpetuate the family name 
and influence in the region of his birth. 

Mr. Hyde was prepared for college presumably by his father, 
as were the older brothers, and graduated at Williams in the 
class of 1834, at the age of twenty. From his classmate and 
life-long friend and neighbor, Mr. E. W. 1>. Canning of Stock- 
bridge, we have this brief account of his college career : "Our 
friend was fitted and and sent to Williams College, and there 
it was my good fortune to become his classmate, and commence 
a friendship uninterrupted for almost fifty years, and then only 
by the stroke of a pitiless arbiter from whom there is no appeal. 
There I discerned the sterling qualities in the boy which fore- 
cast his character as a man. Beneath a crust of natural reserve, 
which to certain gushing natures might savor of repulsiveness, 
there lay a mine of moral worth, which those who shared his 
intimacy soon learned to appreciate. As a scholar he was 
solid rather than brilliant ; faithful to study, not for distinction, 
but for learning's sake ; punctual to every duty, he was gradua- 
ted among the foremost members of his class. Fond of athletic 
sports and honest fun, he yet never permitted himself to be in- 
volved in any transaction that savored of wantonness toward 
the personal feelings or sensitiveness of a fellow. J lis conscien- 
tiousness was eminent in every detail of college life, and this 
constituted him an acknoledged arbiter and peace maker in the 
class. The first question he asked and settled before action 
was, 'Is it right V " Everyone acquainted with Mr. Ilyde will 
recognize in this picture of the young college student the lead- 
ing features of the man in his maturity and age. 

After graduation, Mr. Hyde taught for a year or two in 
other places, and then took up the main work of his life in the 
family boarding school for boys established by him in the home 
of his boyhood in Lee. He married in 1837, Cornelia Hull, 
daughter of Lieut. Governor Hull of Sandisiield. Eleven 
children were the fruit of this marriage, eight of whom still 
survive. Thus in the number of children, as in many other 
respects, the life of the first chapter in the history of the Hyde 
parsonage was reproduced in the second. It was a filial motive 

Deacon Alexander Hyde. 99 

in part that led to his choice of locality and occupation, that 

he might care for his aged mother and keep the homestead in 
the family. But a quiet life was also in accordance with his 
tastes. Fur a public career he had no desire, and as he thought, 
whether correctly or not, as little aptitude, lie doubtless had 
at times, like other men, his seasons of unrest and discontent; 
but no ambition fur a more commanding sphere seems ever to 
have been entertained, and no serious purpose of removal from 
his old home. With almost exact truth it may be said of him 
as of the village parson, 

He ne'er had changed, nor wished to change his place." 

But he evidently had his ambition and that a very noble one ; 
it was to be of the utmost possible service as an educated 
Christian man to his native town and region, to perpetuate 
there to the extent of his ability the Christian heritage whieh 
he had received. And whether consciously cherished at first 
or not, there came at last the purpose to extend his usefulness 
from the local circle to the widest circumference that his in- 
fluence could reach. The result was that he became a recog- 
nized power for good in many and quite diverse fields of 
benevolent and Christian activity. It may be doubted whether 
if he had been actuated from the first by ambition in the or- 
dinary sense, he would have achieved a wider influence than 
that into which he at last grew through his willingness to be 
useful in the humblest way in his day and generation. Thus 
the wisdom of his choice was justified and found its abundant 

Tn the way of event Mr. Hyde had no biography. His story 
is simply a record of unpretentious usefulness. It comes near 
to a realization of the poet's ideal : 

"We live in deeds, not years ; in thoughts, not breaths ; 
In feelings, not in figures on a dial. 
AVe should count time by heart throbs. lie most lives 
Who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best." 

My main task therefore must be to call attention as rapidly 
as possible to the leading lines in which his purpose of useful- 
ness was worked out. I think you will agree with me that the 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

record of the life service of this modest country deacon is quite 
remarkable. You must certainly be impressed with the fact 
of its many side lines. 

The leading interest of his life was of course education. lie 
maintained his family school for boys thirty years. As he did 
most of the teaching himself and had all the management, this 
work during this period must have engrossed the bulk of his 
energy. The scope was too narrow, and the material too young 
and heterogeneous to largely develop educational faculty, and 
he can hardly be called in the large sense of the word, an edu- 
cator, lie several times expressed to me the conviction that 
his close association for so many years with minds of such im- 
maturity, and his engrossment with the petty details of school 
life, had prevented his making the most of himself. In this 
judgment he possibly did himself injustice, for his habitual in- 
terest to the extent of his opportunities in other and larger 
things must have acted as a balance against the narrowing in- 
fluence of his pedagogical duties. Hut he loved his work and 
applied himself to it with the utmost fidelity. Though capa- 
ble of all needful severity at times, his regime was perhaps too 
lenient to yield the best results in the intellectual development 
of his pupils. His own accuracy of scholarship was doubtless 
not such as would be required to give reputation to a teacher at 
the present time. But the moral influence was of the highest 
order. The boys came to regard him as a friend and father, 
and carried out into the world most grateful recollections of 
his kindly interest in their behalf. I have never heard from 
any of his pupils whom I have chanced to meet anything but 
the most affectionate reference to their old teacher. One of 
them, now filling an important position in educational circles, 
in answer to my inqury with regard to his impressions of Mr. 
Hyde as a teacher, writes, "He was very kind to the boys and 
they were attached to him. My impressions of it (his instruc- 
tion) are scanty, but 1 should say they are rather personal than 
pedagogical. Mr. Hyde does not appear to me in my memory 
as a teacher." He has very vivid recollections of visits to the 
cider mill and of rides to Sandisfield, but very dim ones of the 
school-room. These are the impressions of a quite youthful 


Deacon Alexander Hyde. 1<>1 

pupil. That those of greater maturity received more abiding 
ones is proved by the fact that many students went from Mr. 
Hyde's school to Williams college, where they did well, and 
have since attained positions of honor and influence in the 
world. His pupils came from all parts of the country, and 
some from foreign countries. lie had the unbounded confi- 
dence of parents, and many boys were left almost exclusively 
in his care for several years. 

But Mr. Hyde's educational influence was probably larger 
outside of his school than in or through it. It extended to in- 
stitutions of every grade, and was specially helpful to the pub- 
lic schools of his native town. He was for many years on the 
school committee of the town, and devoted himself to his du- 
ties with most persistent fidelity. Naturally as an educated 
man or a professional teacher himself, his ideals of what was 
needed were often higher than the average sentiment of his 
fellow citizens. It was often only by great determination, and 
in face of much criticism that he could secure the appropria- 
tions which he deemed necessary for the proper maintenance 
and advancement of the schools. But he succeeded in the 
main, and had the satisfaction of seeing constant progress in 
this important interest of the town to the end of his life. I re- 
member to have remarked at the time of his death that prob- 
ably the loss thus occassioned to the edircational interests of the 
town would be found the one most difficult to repair. The 
result has amply justified that opinion. The late Hon. Joseph 
White of Williamstown, for many years Secretary ol the Massa- 
chusetts Board of Education was accustomed to say that he re- 
garded Mr. Hyde as one of the three best School Committee- 
men in the state, the other two being David Choate of Essex, 
and Henry Bigelow of Newton. Mr. Abner Eice, for thirty 
years the successful principal of the Lee High School, and as 
such closely associated with Mr. Hyde, bears testimony as fol- 
lows to the value of his services: "During all the time of my 
acquaintance with him he was chairman of our school com- 
mittee. I might say he was the committee. For the duties 
of this office he had a natural aptitude, and it may be said of 
the successful school superintendent with hardly less truth than 



Berkshire tlistorical Society. 

of the poet, nascitur, non fit. To this natural proclivity was 
added his long experience in sehool as a teacher. Beneath a 
dignified and almost stern exterior, the children and youth with 
whom he came in contact soon learned that there was a 
thoroughly genial spirit, and that they had in him a true friend. 
Ilis acquaintance with the children throughout the town was 
remarkable. lie rarely met a child belonging to any of our 
schools whom he could not call by name. He had also the un- 
bounded confidence of the parents. It may be added that Mr. 
Hyde was quick to discover in any pupil marks of unusual 
ability, and such were encouraged to continue their studios. 
Not a few men now in public life have occasion to revere his 
memory for the influence he exerted upon them in their early 

To Williams College Mr. Hyde was a most loyal and devo- 
ted son. Dr. Hopkins was his ideal and idol as a teacher and 
college president, and he was incessant in sounding his praises. 
In every possible way he sought to arouse interest in the Col- 
lege, to turn the choice of young men in process of preparation 
to Williams, and to introduce new-comers into the county to 
the fellowship of its faculty and alumni. I recall very distinct- 
ly the persistency with which he urged my attendance in his 
company at the first Commencement after I became his pastor, 
and his often expressed desire that I might come into that 
habit of allegiance to his Alma Mater that had been from the 
first one of the traditions of the Lee pastorate. I am not cer- 
tain that he was ever on the Board of Trustees, but he served 
often I know on Alumni Committees in behalf of the institution. 
His house was always open to its professors and friends on their 
visits to the town. It is safe to say that there was no possible 
sacrifice that he gladly would not have made for the college. 

The second great interest that engaged the thought and 
effort of Mr. Hyde for many years, was the quite diverse one 
of agriculture. His taste in that direction had been cultivated 
as a boy on the parsonage farm. Inheriting that farm as he did, 
and adding to it somewhat, he combined to a certain extent 
all his life the occupation of farmer and teacher. But it was 
in theoretical rather than practical agriculture, it was as a 

Deacon Alexander Hyde. 103 

writer and lecturer on agricultural topics, that his influence 
was exerted and his reputation gained. It was a somewhat 
dangerous role to assume with his comparatively meagre prac- 
tical experience in the art of husbandry. No man without 
large endowment of common-sense, no mere idealist could posi- 
bly have succeeded in it. The main secret of farming, how to 
make it pay, he probably never mastered. His former friends 
were accustomed to smile at what they regarded his own poor 
exemplification in practice of many of the theories which lie 
urged upon their acceptance. He was instant in season and out 
of season in preaching the gospel of tidiness on the farm, but 
it could not fail to be noticed that his own gates and doors 
were not always on their hinges. But is it not a little too much 
to require of any man that he should practice all that he 
preaches? This feature the farmers of the region soon learned 
to discount, and they found in his teachings a remainder of 
such evident value that the most practical among them came 
to accept him as a mentor in their own calling. He carried in- 
to this department of effort the same quiet and" persistent en- 
thusiasm that he showed in everything he undertook. Not an 
agricultural fair or farmer's festival of any kind in the region 
where he was not present if possible, and where he was not 
gladly welcomed. lie organized a Farmer's club in his own 
town which became under his leadership one of the most use- 
ful institutions of the kind in New England, and of which he 
was so much the life that it did not long survive him. He 
stimulated the farmers of the region to the adoption of improved 
methods of cultivation of the soil, of fruit culture, and of 
stock breeding. He wrote incessantly on agricultural subjects 
for leading papers, among others contributing for many years 
a weekly article to the New York Times. He become so far 
recognized at last as an ruthority in his favorite science, as to 
receive the high compliment of appointment as lecturer before 
the Lowell Institute in Boston, to whose platform only experts 
in their special departments are ever invited. The result justi- 
fied the wisdom of the appointment. The lectures published 
after delivery in the Springfield Republican and later in book 
form, attracted wide attention in agricultural circles, and added 


Berkshire Historical. Society. 

much to his reputation. The view of the fanner's life present- 
ed is doubtless somewhat roseate, and there runs through the 
book a strain of moral and religious sentiment quite unusual in 
works of this class. It breaks out sometimes in quite unex- 
pected places. "We have never felt so rich," he says, "nor 
more impressed with the goodness and wisdom of Providence, 
then when shovelling over the compost heap." This is the 
hrst time I venture to say in the history of the science that the 
manure heap has been used to fertilize the field of Christian 
apologetics. But it is easier to smile at the suggestion than to 
deny its force. The book is an interesting one, and though 
twenty-five years old may be read with profit even now. Near 
the end of his life Mr. Hyde's agricultural services received a 
still higher endorsement in his appointment to the presidency' 
of the Massachusetts Agricultural College at Amherst, lie 
appreciated the honor, but for various reasons deemed it ex- 
pedient to decline. I have doubted myself whether he would 
have found the details of college administration and financial 
management quite to his taste. Possibly it is as well for his 
reputation that he did not undertake a work in which his suc- 
cess in some important respects was doubtful. 

The service rendered to his native region by Mr. Hyde's 
interest in its agriculture cannot of course be exactly defined. 
But we can hardly doubt that not a little of the progress in the 
department in South Berkshire especially, during the past 
thirty or forty years is a result of his efforts. In many an or- 
chard glorifying the landscapes of May with the multitudinous 
beauty of its blossoms and those of October with the gold and 
crimson of its ripened fruits, in many a meadow reclaimed 
from bog and barrenness to waving fertility, in many a herd of 
tender-eyed Jerseys, stately Durhams and heavy uddercd IIol- 
steins, we doubtless see when we do not think it monuments to 
the salutary influence on the Agriculture of Berkshire of 
Alexander Hyde. All these things of course would have come 
at last without him as the fruit of general progress. But it is 
doubtful if they would have found their way so far into the 
recesses of our hills but for his faithful and presistent zeal. 

Deacon Alexander Hyde. L05 

A third aspect of Mr. Hyde's character and service wan his 
comprehensive philanthropy. lie was a born philanthropist, 

and the natural disposition was deepened and intensified by the 
spirit of the gospel. It included all classses and conditions of 
men. All three of "the despised races," the African, the In- 
dian and the Chinaman, had place in his sympathy and repre- 
sentatives from them all found at various times temporary 
home beneath his roof. lie was for many years one of the 
trustees of Hampton Institute, and Gen. Armstrong its founder 
and head had no more sympathetic supporter than he. He 
never missed a meeting of the trustees during his ten years 
service, though the long journey to Hampton was often at much 
inconvenience, to the limit of his ability, and beyond that he 
contributed to the support of the Institute. His last contribu- 
tion was so evidently beyond his means that Gen. Armstrong 
could not conscientiously receive it, but returned it to the 
donor. He was unwearying in his efforts to enlist in behalf of 
the enterprise* the support of others. He was instrumental in 
introducing into Berkshire during the summer season repre- 
sentatives of the Indian pupils at Hampton, distributing them 
among his farmer friends in order that they might learn by 
actual participation the habits aud methods of civilized indus- 
try. Nothing could exceed the conscientious kindliness with 
which he cared for their welfare. The children of his own 
ilesh and blood could not have been more tenderly watched 
over than were these red sons of the plains. One of them, I 
remember, sickened and died at his house, and was buried like 
a member of his family in his own lot. His philanthropic 
spirit thus conspicuously displayed in one direction was ac- 
tive in all, the poor and suffering of his own neighborhood 
looked to him instinctively for help and never looked in vain. 
His charity in its fullness and freeness recalls the words of the 
sacred poet, which may be applied to him without qualification. 

"He spreads his kind supporting arms 

To every child of grief ; 
His secret bounty largely flows, 

And brings unasked relief." 

We were accustomed to criticize him as being over generous. 
He doubtless often did give to his own hurt. I have often 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

wished that his means had been equal to his generosity of spirit. 
We may be sure that the result would have been endowments 
for the benefit of his native town and region that would have 
carried his name far into the future. 

Deacon Hyde's distinctively christian character and service 
must not of course be overlooked. With regard to the type 
of hie religious life I will take the liberty to quote in full some 
words of my own spoken on a former occasion. 

"Deacon Hyde's distinctively religious character was of a 
somewhat different type from what we should have expected 
from his antecedents. The son of a New England divine of 
the strictest school, and bred in an atmosphere of doctrinal dis- 
cussion, we should have expected a character somewhat rigidly 
theological, somewhat narrowly Puritanical. But though evi- 
dently the subject of deep religious experience and evangelical 
in his belief, the distinctively doctrinal elements of religion 
had little place in his thought, and it wa§ the milder virtue of 
character in which he specially delighted, and which he sought 
to cultivate in himself and in others. It was a criticism that 
we sometimes made upon him, and perhaps with some degree 
of justice, that he was too little inclined to look upon the 
severities of truth, and that be was accustomed to spread the 
mantle of his charity too widely. But the peculiarity was 
grounded in his nature. He could not do otherwise. He 
could not be a radical in his opinions. He could not take 
other than hopeful views of the world, and charitable views of 
men. lie could not be otherwise than pacific in his counsels 
and methods, the quality was an amiable one and added much 
to his influence with certain classes. It is doubtless well that 
all men are not of this temperament, for there is often stern 
work to be done in this world for which he would have been 
unfitted, and which he would never have undertaken. On the 
other hand it is well that some have it that the rival scales of 
mercy and justice may be kept in even balance. But the thor- 
oughness of his Christianity no one ever doubted; the scripture 
illustrations of the class of men to which he belonged are Isaac 
the man of peace, Nathaniel the Israelite indeed in whom there 
was no guile, and John the beloved disciple. 

Deacon Alexander Hyde. 107 

The christian service of Dea. Hyde is associated inseparably 

with his ecclesiastical title. The New England deacon ate has 
not yet received, I believe, the needed consideration that be- 
longs to it as a molding influence in our mural and religious life. 
It has been unduly overshadowed by the ministry. But in the 
golden age of the office, when its tenure was for life, when the 
incumbent was selected with hardly less care, and set apart for 
his work with hardly less solemnity than the minister himself, 
it is hardly too much to say that our New England Christianity 
came to its culmination in its ranks. I quite agree with Dr. 
Bushnell in his estimate of the old time deacon and as to the 
loss that has come to the office through modern changes. lie 
says, ki I heartily dissent from the three year deacons! the dea- 
con is to purchase to himself a good degree, and great bold- 
ness, and that good degree means power for good acquired by 
long use. And a good old deacon — God bless him ! — what is 
there better, and more to be felt or loved. But a three year 
deacon is nobody. lie is scarcely old enough to have gotten 
by the state of veal, — he is not beef at all, the very morning of 
a three year trust kills the office. A real live deacon can hard- 
ly appear in that figure." 

But Dea. Hyde came to the office before this decline of its 
dignity had begun. It came to him when a quite young man 
as a kind of inheritance from the pastorate of his father, and 
he held and honored it for thirty-five years. He evidently re- 
garded the office as a sacred trust, the planets in their courses 
are not more regular than was he in every duty connected with 
it. Every pastor found in him a most sympathetic helper, 
whether there was perfect agreement on all points or not, the 
widow and fatherless looked to him confidently for counsel and 
help, and were never disappointed. His good grey head was 
the central feature and ornament of all the religious meetings 
of the region. There was no layman, there was hardly a 
clergyman so well known to the churches of South Berkshire 
and more respected and loved than was Dea. Hyde. It has 
been my feeling that the loss to the christian forces of the 
region occasioned by his death lias never been fully supplied. 
It has been all the more sensibly felt that he was removed when 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

his salutary influence among the churches was in full current 
and perhaps increasing from year to year. 

It remains to speak of Dea. Hyde's local patriotism, of his 
love and loyalty to the region of his birth. He was an enthu- 
siast for Berkshire, for its scenery, for its history, for its men, 
for its institutions. He had made its history a matter of 
special study, and fesv men were better acquainted with it. 
He was not indeed, in the technical sense, an antiquarian. He 
had not the taste, at least - he had not the time, for that minute 
study of originals upon which historical accuracy depends, 
lie doubtless sometimes accepted the authority of tradition 
where a more searching investigation would have demanded 
that of documents. Nor was he an antiquarian in the sense that 
he believed the old times better than the new. He believed 
in progress, and was in the highest degree an optimist in his 
thought of the future. He loved the old Berkshire, but still 
more the modern one. He delighted in all its tokens of pro- 
gress, and desired in every possible way to contribute to it, 
there was not a town or county organization of any kind which 
looked toward better things that did not engage his enthusias- 
tic support. I cannot recall a man in the county since his time 
either able or willing to perform just the kind of service in be. 
half of the whole county which he gladly rendered for many 
years. He was equipped for this service as was perhaps no 
other man by his universal acquaintanceship throughout the 
county. He knew everybody and everybody knew and re- 
spected him. His connection with the Berkshire Historical 
society is an example of this county patriotism. It might be 
too much to call him individually its founder. I am not cer- 
tain that that honor belongs exclusively to any one person. 
But I know that the enterprise engaged from the lirst his most 
earnest cooperation, and that such was his position of leader- 
ship in it as to make inevitable his choice as the first president 
of the society, an office in which he would doubtless have been 
continued for many years had his life been spared. I remem- 
ber to have heard from his successor in the office, Mr. Joseph 
White, the remark that the project would probably have failed 
but for the energetic way in which Mr. Hyde came to the res- 

Deacon Alexander Hyde. 109 

cue at the critical time. It is an illustration of liis interest in 
everything that promised to serve the welfare of his native 
county. So complete indeed was his identification with Berk- 
shire that he seemed a part of it, as much so as the leading 
features of its landscapes. I liken him in my own thought to 
the Housatonic on whose hanks his life was spent. As the 
river itself is a child of the county having all its sources 
within its borders; as it Hows on for the most part with placid 
current without noisy rapids or precipitous falls; as it winds 
gracefully around the obstacles in its way which it cannot sur- 
mount, but still holds persistently on its course toward the sea ; 
as it lends itself willingly to any service which men may put 
upon it, and is a thing of beauty from source to mouth : — So 
it was with Den. Hyde, — a son of the county and a life-long 
resident, in it; unpretentious and quiet in all his ways and yet 
persistent as gravitation in following out the purposes once 
formed ; a servant of the public lining his pathway with bene- 
factions to all classes and withal exhibiting an amiability of 
spirit and manner that from youth to age attracted not only 
the respect but the affection of all who knew him. As we are 
not likely to build any monument worthy of his memory, let 
our Berkshire river become to us the symbol of his beautiful 
and beneficent life. 

A full protraiture of Deacon Hyde would require that the 
general outline thus given should be filled in with the minuter 
features. But a full delineation even if possible would pass 
the limits proper for such a sketch as this. There were how- 
ever two features of such prominence that their omission 
would leave the picture almost fatally deficient in the view of 
all acquainted with its original; — one was the richness of his 
social nature. I have never known a man to whom habitual 
social intercourse seemed so much of a necessity, or who was 
at such pains to contribute to the social life of others. A gift 
of nature, it had been fed and intensified by the circumstances 
of his life. His own household, I am told, numbered at times 
no less than forty, and the larger it was the greater his enjoy- 
ment in it. Age had no effect to cool his social instincts, but 
they seemed rather to grow with his years. No circle young 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

or old, seemed quite complete without him. He had a genius for 
being agreeable without effort, without indeed any conscious- 
ness of purpose in that direction. It was a natural radiation 
of inward benignity. His very presence seemed to give a light 
and warmth to which all were susceptible.* lie made himself 
at times a kind of social missionary among his friends fairly 
compelling them out of the easy retirement into which they 
had begun to lapse, and to join him in his rounds of visits from 
house to house; the quality added greatly to his value as a citi- 
zen. It made him a kind of cementing influence between 
neighborhoods and classes. Serious feuds and divisions were 
hardly possible with such a social ministry constantly abroad in 
the community. 

A second quality demanding special notice 'was a kindred 
one, his abounding hospitality. This is one of the dying 
graces of our modern life, if indeed not already dead. But 
never in its most flourishing age did it have a better exempliii- 
cation than in Deacon Hyde. Gaiiis himself, the shining ex- 
emplar of it in apostolic times, did not keep his doors more 
hibitually open to the wayfarer. He made his house almost a 
hostelry in its ready welcome to all comers. People wondered 
how he could do it. lie doubtless did suffer in fortune in 
consequence. Few private houses in the region probably 
sheltered guests of so many different classes. I never pass the 
ancient mansion without a double thought of sorrow — that the 
genial host who stood so often in an attitude of welcome at its 
door has passed away forever, — that the virtue which he so 
brightly exemplified seems to have died with him. 

Mr. Hyde's confinement to the duties of the school-room for 
a large portion of his life, of'course, precluded for him during 
that period all honors of office except those of a local nature, 
even had he been ambitious in that direction, He gave up his 
school after thirty /years of service in it and was henceforth 
free for larger duties. It is hardly to the credit of his native 
region that he had to wait so long for public; recognition. But 
lie was not a man to spend his time in idle waiting for some- 
thing to turn up. In addition to his agricultural interests he 
engaged industriously for some time in newspaper work, among 

Deacon A Uxander Hyde. 1 1 1 

other tilings writing for, and for two or three years editing, the 
local paper of his own town, the Valley Gleaner. In the fall 
of 1880 he was elected to the Massachusetts legislature, and his 
friends had hope that it would prove the beginning of a public 
career commensurate with his ability, and that would fitly 
crown his long course of useful service in a more restricted 
sphere. Though past three-score, his stalwart frame and appa- 
rently perfect health seemed to justify the hopes thus enter- 
tained. He was never sick a day in his life until the final 
stroke came. He was stricken suddenly on the steps of the 
State House in Boston, and soon passed away, Jan. 11, 1881, 
aged QQ years and 3 months. The sorrow for his death empha- 
sized by its suddenness, was deep and universal. 1 cannot re- 
call a death in the county since my acquaintance with it that 
has seemed to come so closely home to so many people of all 
classes and creeds. Berkshire mourned, and well she might. 
She has lost many greater sons, whose fame is world wide, but 
never a better representative of her best life, never one more 
closely identified at so many points with her welfare, or to 
whom her name and fame were more dear. 


Concerning Alexander Hyde Esq. 



To speak of a departed friend in fitting terms is an aet which 
every one deems eminently proper, but which few feel them- 
selves competent to do. Even when the life of the deceased 
presents abundant material for eulogy, the hesitancy to offer it 
inheres; since grief at his loss may paralyze the power of due 
expression, or the heart may so overflow with memories of his 
worth, as to over reach in the impression it would record of 
him, and deserved eulogium be mistaken for indiscriminate 

I would fain the duty assigned me to-day had fallen into 
other and abler hands. But when urged upon me by one 
whom to refuse would have seemed disgracious both to myself 
and the dead, I could make but one answer, and consented to 
essay a task of whose imperfections no one can be more consci- 
ous than its undertaker. 

In discoursing of our lamented associate, it will not, I opine, 
be expected that I should deal with the details of his life to 
such an extent as would be demanded by a complete biography. 
Our survey of it vvill more resemble what we would make of a 
finished edifice, comprehending its general architecture, its ad- 
aptations and its conveniences, rather than a minute description 
of its various appliances and the methods of its structure. Let 
us talk of the man as we knew him, as he went in and out 
among us, of the means by which he acquired the " good name 
[that] is better than riches," and of the impression which his 
life and conversation has left upon all who knew him. For 
such lives as his are a precious legacy to any community among 
whom they have been lived. 

Mr. Hyde's birth and parentage are known to us all. The 
former took place Sept. 25, 1814, and hie father's memory is 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

still green in the hearts of the present retiring generation, as 
one of the apostolic sires of our county — an excellent example 
of the clergy of its earliest days; men education, moral 
worth and saintly lives made them acknowledged standard- 
hearers in everything that contributes to the fair fame of a 
community. Our fellow citizens of Lee seem to refer to him 
with the reverence wherewith the ancient Israelites regarded 
their prophet Samuel, and undoubtedly the stability, harmony 
and thrift of that people are, in a larger measure, due to his 
posthumous influence, than any one may accurately know. 
Under parental principles such as these, the mind of our de- 
parted friend was given, from the first, a right direction, and 
the wise father resolved to furnish it — (as in the case of all his 
sons) — for wider influence by means of a liberal education. 
This must be obtained, even tho' the frugality, imposed by a 
small salary and a growing family, should undergo a closer 
crimping to accomplish it. Our friend was fitted and sent to 
Williams college, ami there it was my good fortune to become 
his classmate and commence a friendship uninterrupted for al- 
most 50 years, and then only by the stroke of a pitiless arbiter 
from whom there is no appeal. There I discovered the steil- 
ing qualities in the boy which forecast his character as a man. 
Beneath a crust of natural reserve, which, to certain gushing 
natures, might savor of repulsiveness, there lay a mine of moral 
worth, which those who shared his intimacy soon learned to 
appreciate. As a scholar he was solid rather than brilliant ; 
faithful to study — not for distinction, but for learning's sake ; 
punctual to every duty, and was graduated among the foremost 
members of his class. Fond of athletic sports and honest fun, 
he yet never permitted himself to be involved in any transac- 
tion that savored of wantonness toward the personal feelings of 
sensitiveness of a fellow. His conscientiousness was eminent 
in every detail of college life, and this constituted him an ac- 
knowledged arbiter and peace-maker in the class. The first 
question he asked and settled before action was — "Is it right?" 
and he not only endorsed but practiced the oft-quoted remark of 
Henry Clay — " I had rather be right than to be president. 11 
After his graduation he pursued a calling for which he was 

Monograph. 117 

every way well fitted both by temperament and by training, 
— teaching, and the numerous pupils whose minds he shaped, 
now scattered over the world in various associations, attest Ins 
faithfulness and success. Bearing the impress enstamped by 
his earnest precept and example, they everywhere "rise and call 
him blessed." Not only the youth of our own soil, but the 
swarthy sons of our western wilds, of South America, of 
China and of Japan, came under his influence and instruction, 
and lamentations for his loss will be co-abiding with his lessons 
of science and religion in the minds he enlightened, the round 
world over. The great day of general .Revelation alone can 
determine the measure of his usefulness in this regard, both in 
its direct bearing upon individual interests, and its transmission 
through them to on-coining generations. 

Demitting, at length, after more than thirty years of toil, a 
profession, whose compensation was measured rather by exact 
obedience to duty than by the dollars it brought to his pocket, 
he employed his talents and education to the cultivation of a 
wider field of labor for his fellow-men. For several years he 
spoke to the public through the columns of the press, both as 
editor and contributor. Connected with the paternal home- 
stead was a considerable farm, and his inherent love of agri- 
culture prompted him to experiment on the best modes of 
fertilizing and cultivation, the study of soils and crops and the 
most profitable kinds of husbandry. The result of his investi- 
gations were communicated through the press, to his country- 
men. This brought him in helpful contact with the agricul- 
tural population and placed him in higher estimation with 
them than the mere theorist and book-farmer. His excellent 
judgment and common sense management, as well as his direct 
and intelligible manner of putting his opinions, gave him an 
enviable reputation, and justified the propriety of his selection 
for a course of lectures on his favorite topic before the Lowell 
Institute in Boston. The outcome of his, research, observation 
and experience was a book of great value to our farming com- 
munity, and his engagement, as a writer of serials on agricul- 
tural subjects for two or more prominent journals of the day. 

During all this time, and priority, his experience as an edu* 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

cator was utilized by his townsmen, and many years' service on 
the school hoard contributed largely to the present good condi- 
tion of their schools, of which the citizens of Lee are justly 
proud. His duties as committee-man were discharged in no 
merely perfunctory manner; his ideas of what a true education 
should be embraced the wider range of proper selection of 
studies, the best help in text-books and other appliances, the 
judicious grading of schools and the moral and literary qualifi- 
cations of teachers. His words of counsel and direction were 
always wise and pertinent, and his official visitation, in and out 
of season, as well within his own jurisdiction as in other towns, 
denoted his hearty interest in a cause which he considered one 
of the basal stones in the structure of our republican institu- 

Largely, also, was our deceased friend engage in the growth 
and progress of every undertaking tending to enhance the true 
interests of the public ; and neither tongue nor hand, pen nor 
purse waswitheld from its support. Educational and aesthetic 
projects, business enterprises, social lectures and libraries, 
farmers' clubs, moral and religious schemes — all found in him 
an ardent, capable and devoted advocate, lie was a sterling 
patriot; beloved his native town, old Berkshire, the Common- 
wealth of the Pilgrims, the glorious flag of the stripes and 
stars. He studied our institutions and their history, of which 
the Lee Centennial of '77 is an honorable memorial, and to 
which our own Society adds its tribute of praise. 

I have said that he was a patriot; he was more — he was a 
philanthropist and a christian. On the much-lauded saying of 
the Roman moralist : — 

" Nihil humanum mini alienum puto." 
he improved by just so far as the maxims of pagan philosophy 
are vitalized by an all-embracing and energetic religious faith. 
Far beyond the temporal benefits of correct action, he regarded 
the spiritual necessities of man ; and while seeking, like an en_ 
lightened citizen, to promote the one, he labored, as a Bible- 
taught disciple, for the other. The church of his choice and 
love, deplores the loss of his cordial support and his unfalter- 
ing example. 

Monograph. 1 19 

In close proximity with his conscientiousness should he 
placed Mr. Hyde's energy and perseverance. To this the san- 
guine-billipiis of his temper merit prompted him. lie was not 
a man to rush impulsively into any course of action, or to ex- 
periment with matters that wore a doubtful complexion. But 
when satisfied, on proper thought and examination, that a pro- 
ject would result in a general benefit, his hand co-operated 
with his heart in ensuring its success. His advocacy thereof 
was urged with the vigor of a man true to his convictions, who 
had a good thing and knew it well enough to tone his best ex- 
ertions to secure it. And it was when, in so doing, he met 
with opposition which he deemed unreasonable, that the least 
amiable phase of his character might be seen. Never loud or 
violent, he yet could say sharp things with a sternness whose 
very quiet added to their point. And yet, after the wordy 
battle was over, no sullenness or rancor chilled the hand he 
gave his opponent with the frankness of a nature that had in 
its make-up nothing of the unforgiving. What he believed 
he was ever ready, when necessary, to assert and defend. His 
flag was ever afloat and patent; by it he dared to stand; and 
there one might always find him. 

It may be asked why a citizen so fitted, by natural gifts and 
by education, for larger public service, should have remained 
so long doing duty in a comparatively limited sphere. The 
answer must be found in his inmate modesty and in his reluct- 
ance to exchange duties for which he felt himself capable, for 
others in which his success must be a matter of experiment. 
In his estimation well-enough should be let alone, lest higher 
aspiration might compromise his doing well. This of civil 
officers and honors only, for, as regards mental and moral at- 
tainments, he was both a believer in, and a practitioner of the 
constantly progressive. If his negation of personal advance- 
ment were an error — (and we shall probably most of us con- 
sider it such) — it was his alone, and not that of his fellow-citi- 
zens, whose opinion of his abilities transcended his own, as was 
shown by repeated invitations to "go up higher." Only 
recently he was urged to accept the presidency of the Agricul- 
tural College of our state and declined the honor, lie, indeed 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

so far waived his preferences for private life, as, at length to 
accept a candidacy for the legislature, where all we who knew 
his abilities are persuaded that, had he lived, he would have 
evinced qualifications which his constituents would have in- 
sisted on being used for their advantage in still higher posi- 
tions. But for the turmoil and scramble of political life, as it 
now exists, he had neither disposition nor toleration. lie was 
one of the last men to seek office or endure the methods by 
which it is usually attained. The honor must seek him — aye 
— and be thrust upon him, if ever he were to do therewith. 
In fine, aiming at usefulness in a humble sphere, he was con- 
tent to use the implements Providence had placed at his hand, 
satisfied, while accomplishing a worthy mission. 

" Along the cool, sequestered paths of life 
To bold the noiseless tenor of [his] way." 

It may, perhaps, be alleged that I have dealt with our de- 
ceased brother on the principle — "of the dead nothing but 
good." Was he then faultless? No — but more nearly so than 
the great majority of those who have attained his years. This 
I may say without reserve — that whatever imperfections ap- 
pear on the brightness of his life, were surface marks and 
reached no deeper — scales upon, not flaws within the diamond 
So marked was his own candor, so ingrained his contempt for 
moral crookedness, that his indignation was roused at once 
whenever he came in contact with it. And any one who ap- 
proached him for favor, whom he suspected to be tinctured 
therewith, was liable to hear language he would plainly under- 
stand, nor speedily forget. Tenacious of his own opinions, be- 
cause they were the results of thought rather than of impulse, 
he was not inflexible, and carried a large mantle of charity for 
those who could not read through his glasses. No shams of 
any kind found harbor with him ; he carried no counterfeit coin 
in the pockets of his soul. He was frank — even to bluntness. 
This element of his nature was not calculated to make him 
what is called a popular man, and may be mentioned as an- 
other reason for the absence of titular garnitures from his 
name. But all seeming brusqueness was a hundred fold offset 

Monograph. • 121 

by the genuine goodness of his heart, the tender sympathy, the 
abounding charity, the profound humanity, which, like a hid- 
den fountain, underlaid bis whole manhood and was constantly 
welling up through irregularities that disfigured not, but only 
varied its surface. 

Increasing years do not always favorably afreet the natural 
asperities of human character. Ordinarily time seems to oper- 
ate on them as the winds and frosts of autumn upon the thistle 
exposing and indurating the thorny offences that were infolded 
when the involucre was green. The reverse was true of our 
friend. My own observation, strengthened by that of others, 
and particularly that of his pastor, is — that, as he neared his 
" three score years and ten," a sweeter influence pervaded him, 
softening the severe, engoldening the plain, and pouring the 
dawn of his approaching heaven over all. In the fruit of his 
autumn every trace of sub-acid flavor that may have dashed its 
early growth, was dissolving in the mellow richness of well 
rounded, perfecting maturity 

Such, as I read his career, was Alexander Hyde. Take him 
all in all, he w r as a man whom to know, was a privilege ; to 
know intimately, a blessing ; to lose, a calamity. And from this 
hall, so recently the scene of his interested labor, we are 
prompted, in view of his enviable exit from the scenes of 
earth, to call, with the prophet of old, after his departing asso- 
ciate — " Aly father ! my father ! the chariot of Israel and the 
horsemen thereof ! " Who may wear his fallen mantle ( 

Stockbridge, January 2G, 1881. 




A long and distinguished succession of writers from Plato 
and Quintilian to Herbert Spencer and Alexander Bain — poets, 
philosophers, reformers, men of letters — have discussed the 
various problems of education. As a result of their labors, if 
the last word has not been said already concerning motives, 
principles and ideals, at all events we cannot look for material 
contributions to our knowledge. The dreams of enthusiasts 
that some new education wholly unlike existing systems, will 
spring up suddenly in the not distant future and sweep away 
the present order of things, give slender promise of fulfillment. 
It can hardly be possible that men of the largest intelligence, 
who have in hand the essential elements of the problem, and 
who have reviewed each other's work from widely different 
stand-points of time and race, should be wholly in the wrong. 
Indeed Plato, the first writer who treated the subject philo- 
sophically, enunciated with more or less distinctness the funda- 
mental principles of pedagogics. His system, by exalting un- 
duly the state and citizenship, is betrayed into expedients that 
modern ethics cannot sanction. Yet his conception of the final 
purpose of training — to realize all that is in the individual and 
to waste none of his powers — is not likely to be set aside. The 
work which remains to be done for the science of education lies 
apparenely in the direction of assimilation and coordination, 
rather than of original discovery. 

With the external machineries of education the case is dif- 
ferent. They have been modified largely in recent times. As 
the drift of the age is toward organization, they could not re- 
main unaffected by it. We belong to an era of appliances and 
adjustments. Our educational affairs move on with the preci- 
sion of clock-work. Undoubtedly these improvements involve 
disadvantages, but I cannot stay to point them out. 

Mark Ifojikrns, Teacher, 12.^ 

Now whatever may be said of pedagogic ideals and appara- 
tus, there is one factor in education that lias remained essenti- 
ally unchanged from age to age. This factor is the personal — 
the native, indefinable something in the teacher that wins and 
inspires the pupil. Of such paramount importance is this 
quality that nobody thinks of disputing the dictum of Jules 
Simon— "The master is the school." Mr. Emerson had said 
substantially the same thing — " It matters little what you 
learn, the question is with whom you learn." Dean Stanley 
insisted that the dullest, most vicious boy at Rugby could not 
come in contact with Or. Arnold without receiving a moral 
and intellectual impulse. And it is at this vital point that our 
training processes are least effective. However successful they 
may be in sharpening the intellect, in furnishing a stock of in- 
formation, in exhibiting the historic phases of educational pro- 
gress, or in securing dexterity in the manipulation .of pedagog- 
ic formulas, their connection with what we call personal genius 
is very slight — in some of its most extraordinary manifesta- 
tions, there is no connection whatever with them. These 
training processes serve a purpose, and it is one of no small im- 
portance, but certain elect souls seem to have little occasion for 
their services. 

The relations of Mark Hopkins to education were almost ex- 
clusively of the personal sort. He confined himself for the 
most part to a single department of it, and was concerned very 
slightly with what might lie outside of its limits. The volu- 
minous professional literature that has accumulated about the 
subject did not attract him. I do not know whether he con- 
curred with Professor Rosenkranz in the opinion that the 
books devoted to education " abound more in shallowness than 
any other literature," but at all events he was careful to let 
them alone. lie never investigated the science of pedagogics, 
nor the influence of educational institutions on the course of 
civilization. And if he had made explorations in these direct- 
ions, if a passion for erudition, strong as Sir William Hamil- 
ton's, had possessed him, he would have realized from it small 
benefit for his pains. 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

An independence well nigh absolute marks certain phases of 
genius. They are essentially creative, moved by impulses from 
within and not by the stimulus of what others have said or 
done. Such is the power of this interior life that it remains 
relatively unaffected by its environment. Jt is in the methods 
and habits of this original type of genius that we find the 
source of literary and artistic laws. We derive our theories 
from an analysis of its products. The man and not the maxim 
is ultimate. Shall we prescribe a course in dramatic literature 
for Shakspere in order that he may understand the appropriate 
laws of its construction \ 

Though Dr. Hopkins had little interest in the pedagogical 
theories and speculations which are found in books, it is not to 
be supposed by any means that he failed to consider the gen- 
eral subject of education. In one of his latest public utter- 
ances—the address delivered on the fiftieth anniversary of his 
election as President of Williams College— he spoke at length 
on educational ideals. "The outcome of a college training 
ought to be," he said, " a sound body, a disciplined mind, a 
liberal education, a right character." Forty -five years before 
he urged the same ideas in an oration at Mount Ifolyoke Semi- 
nary. They present nothing that is novel or exceptional. In 
the more notable definitions of education, they are the chief 
factors, whether we say with Richter that the ideal is " the 
harmonious maximum of all individual qualities taken to- 
gether;" or with Matthew Arnold that it is that training which 
carries us "to a knowledge of ourselves and the world;" or 
with Rosenkranz that it "consists in the development in man 
of his in born theoretical and practical rationality, thespecial 
elements of which he classifies as the physical, the intellectual 
and the practical. What is more, these four points upon which 
Dr. Hopkins dwelt indicate lines along which great historic 
experiences have run. This theatre has been national as well 
as individual. 

The Greek reached a pitch of physical development not 
likely to be surpassed, in the effort to incarnate the beautiful 
in his body; Socrates and his school acquired extraordinary in- 
tellectual accomplishments; in Rome learning became the 

Mark Hopkins, Teacher. J 27 

handmaid of utility, while the Jew framed his systems and ad- 
justed his codes under the inspiration of a future life. 

Nor did Dr. Hopkins have any perceptible influence upon 

public schools. Little of that practical ability, that satisfaction 
in affairs, which characterized \)\\ Arnold and Horace Mann, 
appear in him. They possessed a strain of executive genius - 
were eager to tear down that they might rebuild on better 
models. The prediction before the election of Arnold to the 
mastership of Rugby that if he should get the appointment, he 
would change the face of public education in England, was 
fulfilled abundantly. And the twelve years during which 
Horace Mann was secretary of the Board of Education made 
an epoch in the schools of Massachusetts. To the vocation of 
agitator Dr. Hopkins was not suited. The clearness and cool- 
ness of his thinking, the large comprehensive views which 
were characteristic of him, held in check the emotional intensi- 
ty requisite for any notable success in it. Few men weighed 
things more dispassionately. Wholesale condemnation is sel- 
dom the language of the broadest philosophy, and crusades 
have an affinity with somewhat of blindness if not of narrow- 
ness. Dr. Hopkins believed in zeal — he devoted one of his 
later baccalaureate sermons to this subject — but he would have 
a care that it should be mixed properly with intellect. \\\ ex- 
isting educational institutions he saw more good and less evil 
than professional reformers would allow. 

Unlike Arnold, who took up the calling of teacher as a mat- 
ter of course, Dr. Hopkins was without prevision of his future. 
No inner light gave early intimations of what his work should 
be — no articulate voice cried to him in imperative tones, 
u This is the way, walk ye in it! " 

He was not a man of premonitions ; he had no prophetic in- 
stinct which transported him beyond this ignorant present and 
felt the future in the instant. The recognition of his genius 
came first from without, not from within. He did not seek 
the profession of teacher; what is more, there was not at the 
outset any considerable personal gravitation toward it. It was 
his intention to become a physician and with that object in 
view he completed a course of medical study. Some men are 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

born with aptitudes so unmistakable, with prepossessions bo 
strong and definite that the questions of work and place urc 
settled in advance. It would have required, certainly, an ex- 
traordinary combination of unfriendly circumstances to shut 
Charles Darwin out of the field of natural history. A hoy at 
the age of seven years paints portraits with a hrush made of 
hairs plucked from the back of- the house cat will become an 
artist in spite of obstacles. But there are other men, possessed 
as their subsequent careers amply demonstrate, of the highest 
ability who find serious difficulty in deciphering their commis- 
sion to the world, it often requires a series of uncomfortable 
experiments to clear up the matter— to adjust the inward talent 
to the outward environment. The great educators have en- 
countered as much difficulty as any other class of men in de- 
termining for what they were made. Pestalozzi tried his 
hand at theology, at law and at farming before he found his 
niche as school master. In Dr. Hopkins' case, I think this un- 
consciousness resulted from the remarkable equilibrium of his 
intellectual capacities. His genius was not monochromatic. 
It might have been turned with results almost equally happy 
into several different channels. I am sure he would have 
made his mark as a physician if his original plans had been 
carried out. To the profession of law his mental equipment 
was even more signally adapted. It may not be worth while 
to speak of what might have been, but I believe our country 
has seen no greater jurist than the possible judge that lay in 
Mark Hopkins. And in this poise of a genius, capable of 
many and diverse activities, it is not surprising that premoni- 
tions were mostly absent, or that chance should have some part, 
apparently determining the particular field of its work. 

This unconsciousness is no doubt the more remarkable when 
we remember that Dr. Hopkins realized as a teacher the old 
fable of Minerva who sprang full-armed from the brain of 
Jupiter. The usual stages of experiment, modificatioi 
gress, with their alternations of failure and success, do not aj 
pear in his tuition. His earliest essays at it exhibit scarcely 
less power than his meridian work ; he began with full strength. 
In 1830 he was as extraordinary a teacher as in 1S0U. The 


Mark Hopkins] Teacher. 129 

modifications of time and experience affected incidentals rather 
than essentials. While precocity, that touches an individual 
capacity, that is confined to the field of a single power, must 
involve self-consciousness to a greater or lesser degree, yet in 
the more complicated and balanced instances of it we readily 
see that the tendency would he to ohscure if not obliterate 
sel f-eonsciousness. 

But the students of the early days were not insensible to the 
presence of a great man among them, and it was they who el- 
ected him President of Williams College. The health of Dr. 
Griffin, who held the position from 1821 to 1836, began to 
break down toward the (dose of this period, and it became evi- 
dent that at no distant day a successor must he chosen. 

Dr. Hopkins did not seek the place, nor did he regard him- 
self as especially qualified for it. The executive duties which 
it involved, the inevitable attention to multitudinous details, 
were never altogether agreeable to him. Some one asked him 
who among the candidates possible or suggested ought in his 
judgment to be elected. "John Morgan is the man," he re- 
plied — John Morgan of the class of 1S2G who was professor of 
Bibieal Literature at Oberlin for more than forty years. The 
class of 1S36, which happened to be one of unusual ability, has 
the honor of choosing the successor of Dr. Griffin. There was 
opposition in the board of trustees to the candidacy of the Pro- 
fessor of Moral Philosophy and Rhetoric — the chair which Dr. 
Hopkins occupied at that time. So far as 1 can learn this op- 
position revolved around the fact that his age was insufficient. 
To us it seems a trivial cause for hesitation. It did not appear 
so, however, to our grandfathers. In the selection of presi- 
dents, college trustees of two generations ago had a decided 
partiality for middle-aged or old men with established reputa- 
tions. At young men they looked askance, whatever his pro- 
mise might be. While the board was in session for the pur- 
pose of choosing Dr. Griffin's successor, it received a letter 
from the class of 183G setting forth the profound impression 
which the instruction of Professor Hopkins had produced, and 
formally thanking the gentlemen for the privilege of sitting at 
his feet, which their wisdom had made possible. The letter 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

was read before the board and produced great excitement — 
"If the hoys want hi in," old Dr. Shepherd finally said, u let 
them have him." They did want him and they had him. 

As an educator, then, Dr. Hopkins' special held was in the 
class-room. Other phases of the work did not attract him. 
lie touched them lightly or not at all, unless an exception 
must he made in regard to the inlluence which he exerted as an 
author of text-books. That has been considerable, and I hap- 
pen to know that it was a source of gratification to him that 
his books should have found a place in so many schools and 
colleges. I think, however, that in a certain very real sense this 
work was a sort of aside. It is true that at an early period — it 
was before his election as President in 183(i — he contemplated 
writing a manual of moral science. lie used Paley's work in 
his classes but did not consider it a satisfactory presentation of 
the subject. Some statements of this book he rejected entire- 
ly and others he freely revised. His pupils enjoyed these keen 
critical expositions and when he consulted one of them, with 
whom he was intimate, about his text book project, the latter 
asked him if he thought it would be any better for the classes 
than to keep on " hacking" J > aley. lie replied that he presumed 
it might not. The publication of Dr. Wayland's " Elements of 
Moral Science" in 1835 led him to abandon the plan tempora- 
rily. The projected manual did not appear until 1862. This 
field of text-books has been cultivated dilligently since the 
public has become fully awake to its importance. Melanch- 
thon, with his popular Dialectics, Rhetoric and Ethics, is usu- 
ally called the hero of the protestant world in this matter. 
Then came Comenius, that "grand and venerable figure of 
sorrow " in the world of educators, author of the Didactica 
Magna and the Janua Reserata. Since his day the laborers 
have not been few. They work directly and avowedly in the 
interest of pedagogics. But Dr. Hopkins did not work in any 
such spirit. lie had no definite purpose of this kind when he 
wrote his books. With a single exception they were delivered 
originally as courses of popular lectures and though several of 
them were found to be adapted admirably for use as manuals 
of instruction, it was an incidental and accommodated service. 

Mark Hopkins, Teacher. L31 

Whatever Dr. Hopkins' influence through the medium of 
text-books may have been it docs not approach in scope and 
power the personal work with his classes. And in this sphere 
little remains to us that is tangible, that is available as data for 
taking the gauge of it except the grand object lesson of his 
practical instruction. Uc was no less incurious to analyse his 
own methods of teaching, to hunt down the secrets of his mag- 
ic than he was to explore the pedagogic success or failures of 
other men. The most elaborate exposition of the conditions 
of successful teaching which I remember to have seen among 
his published writings — and that is brief and fragmentary — is 
found in his inaugural address delivered at Williams College 
in 1836. If he had articulate theories, he failed to make any 
full statement of them. It would be absurd to think of class- 
ing him among the hazy transcendental folk who cannot give 
an account of themselves if challenged. Of his theories and 
opinions, of the systems in philosophy and theology which he 
adopted, he could give a very luminous and cogent account, but 
I suspect he would have been relatively helpless if he had been 
required to explain his pedagogic art, so largely did elusive, 
personal qualities, of which he could hardly take cognizance, 
enter into it. 

The elements of his power were many and diverse. Among 
those which the most cursory and superficial observation could 
not miss was his personal appearance. lie had a magnificent 
physical frame. The enthusiastic words of Theodore Parker in 
reference to Daniel Webster might be transferred to him, and 
those who knew the man will hesitate before they bring 
charges of exaggeration. "Since Charlemagne I think there 
has not been such a grand figure in Christendom." Large- 
framed ; with a massive, well-poised head of strikingly intel- 
lectual mould ; benignant and winsome in countenance, season- 
ing his words with a gracious voice, he commanded respect, 
conciliated affection, kindled enthusiasm by his presence. The 
physical element has been a powerful factor in the success of 
oratory. Not infrequently voice and person have outdone 
intellect and imagination in effective service. With an insigni- 
ficant body and a feeble elocution there could have been no 

132 Berkshire Historical Society. 

Mirabeau or Daniel O'Oonnell. It is true that men whose 
personal presence was weak have succeeded as public speakers, 
but such success has been exceptional. Though the vocations 
of orator and teacher differ in some obvious particulars, yet 
they have much in common, and the physical equation is about 
as large in the one case as in the other. And young men are 
keenly sensitive to the attractions of a noble presence. When 
Dr. Hopkins entered the class room every student felt a sud- 
den change in the atmosphere. lie felt that the humanity in 
it had received a signal and fascinating re-enforceirent. 

Then I put enthusiasm as second in the list of his salient 
qualities. Dr. Hopkins himself in one of his public addresses 
emphasized strongly the necessity of it. " lie who carries the 
torch-light into the recesses of science," lie said, "and shows 
the gems that are sparkling there, must not be a mere hired 
conductor, who is to bow in one company, and bow out an- 
other, and show what is to be seen with a heartless indifference, 
but must have an ever living fountain of emotion that will 
flow afresh as he contemplates anew the works of God and the 
great principles of truth and duty." 

In all memorable educational achievements enthusiasm lias 
borne a distinguished part. There are not wanting instances 
of them in which it was the capital source of power — in which 
but for its inspiration and contagion over-whelming failure 
must have ensued. Pestalozzi not only did not succeed in the 
practical management of his schools, but his theories are some- 
what incoherent and unintelligible. They are confused ; they 
lack clear-cut and definite outlines. Different disciples report 
conflicting versions of them. And yet few men have a more 
assured and permanent place in the history of education, and 
the fact must be ascribed chiefly to his pathetic humanitarian- 
ism. He had an unconquerable passion to minister to "the lower 
classes of his country, to shelter and elevate the vagrant, home- 
less uncared-for children who swarmed in his neighborhood, 
for whom he was ready to yield himself up a living sacrifice, 
and his philanthropic, self-denying labors laid the foundation 
of modern popular education. Though indebted to Rousseau 
for impulse and suggestion, he may justly claim the honor of 

Mark Hopkins, Teacher. 133 

inaugurating, half unconsciously it may be, the great move- 
ment, which is so conspicuous a feature in the civilization of 
our times, to extend the moral and intellectual stimulus of 
education to the entire community — a movement which some 
dreamers affect to believe will rid us by and by of " the dirty 
hungry, ignorant, awkward, thankless and will-less mass de- 
voted alone to animal existence." 

If the enthusiasm which burned in Dr. Hopkins' soul was 
different, it was not less real. It continued for three score 
years with no abatement — at least I could discover none during 
the last weeks of his work, when after an absence of a quarter 
of a century I visited his class-room. It was the same gracious 
and magnificent personality that I had known and revered as a 
student. When I looked at him I could see in the deeper fur- 
rows that crossed his brow, in the greater delibeiation of his 
movements, in the slight deafness that at times made it diffi- 
cult for him to catch the answers of the class, that time had 
touched him, though but tenderly. Yet if I closed my eyes 
the old days seemed to have returned. The ear reported that 
things were as they used to be. He was then eighty-five years 
old, but his intellectual powers appeared to be as brilliant as 
ever, and his interest as keen in questions which he had dis- 
cussed with sixty generations of students. The old man, brav- 
ing all weathers, met his class eight hours weekly for more 
than half the winter months, " I missed only one day last year." 
he said just before the end came, "and then the young men 
sent a committee asking me not to venture out, since the great 
storm that was raging made the streets nearly impassable.'' 
There was no distemper in this enthusiasm. It had nothing of 
the demonstrative, passionate, ill-regulated element which w r c 
see in Pestalozzi ; nothing of the sentimentality, the posing 
and waywardness which cast shadows upon Rousseau's career 
— it was a fine, subtile, rational intensity such as became a 
great philosopher who viewed life broadly and profoundly. 
In a nature where intellectual qualities are so remarkable, in- 
tensity of a purely emotional cast, fervor that has its seat prin- 
cipally in the heart, must of necessity have occupied a subordi- 
nate position. Yet there was no lack of emotional elements in 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

his nature. Friends who knew him intimately discovered 
depths of sentiment in his soul, shy and furtive tenderness 
which ordinary acquaintances would not suspect. A nativej-e- 
serve inclined him to silence touching the whole world of his 
inner and spiritual self. h\ some respects he was a solitary 
man shut up with himself and his God. It was easier, more 
natural for him to speak of his thoughts than of [lis feelings. 
But though he may have been silent, it does not follow that 
the feelings were absent. I remember that on one occasion 
near the close of his life, conversation turned upon the poetry 
of Robert Browning. lie said that it did not attract him ; 
that he liked clearness and had little patience with obscure, 1 
cloudy verse, in which one must beat about painfully to find 
the meaning. "But," he continued and a profound look came 
over his face, a spiritual and illuminated expression, which 
seemed the reflex of a far-gazing vision into the unseen and 
eternal, " but I too am a mystic.' 1 It will be a surprise to 
many that this man of sun-bright intellect, who seemed to have 
little commerce with cloud-land or dream-land, should claim 
kindred with Thomas a Kempis and Bernard of Clairvaux. 
Intellectual voices may have rang loudest in this self-contained 
yet powerful enthusiasm, but there was also in it a deep under- 
tone of the spiritual. 

Again, Dr. Hopkins knew where to begin in teaching — a 
matter of the first importance. I recollect hearing some one 
quote, in illustration of this point, the reply of Grimm to a 
scholar who asked him for the heads of an Icelandic grammar. 
" You might as well ask me," said Grimm, " to write the book. 
When these heads are decided upon, when the outlines of the 
treatise are fixed, the most formidable difficulties will be over- 
come. What remains will be mostly detail and can be man- 
aged without difficulty." Probably no teacher ever understood 
better than Dr. Hopkins the eligible approaches to ethical and 
philosophical subjects. He followed nature and natural methods 
in the best sense of those much abused terms. " Begin- 
ning with the elements," to quote substantially his own words 
spoken in 1843, " he constructed together with his pupils, so 
that they felt that they aided in it, the fair fabric of a science 

Mark Hopkins, Teacher. 135 

with which they became familiar from foundation to the top- 
stone. These words intimate what in his judgment the 
teacher of philosophy ought to attempt, and he certainly 
reached his own ideal. A right beginning facilitated a success- 
ful construction. Teacher and student proceeded in company 
from the lower to the higher, from the conditioned to the con- 
ditioning, " tracing relations and carrying out principles, and 
[finally] taking a wide and comprehensive survey of the whole 
subject." With some qualiiications and limitations it may be 
called a process of re-discovery. It has a remote kinship with 
the theories of Kousseau and Herbert Spencer, who would dis- 
card books, set aside history which records the experiences of 
the past, assume that everything is unknown, that what is be- 
hind us is not worthy of our attention, and attempt to solve the 
riddle of the universe by retracing anew the experiences of hu- 
manity. This theory of education has attractive aspects, and 
has led astray some of the ablest writers on the subject. It 
would be easy to pick holes in it — to show that at least in this 
extravagant form it is utterly impracticable. Dr. Hopkins 
scouted the idea of going back of experience in his instruction, 
and of attempting tore-enact the mingled drama of human his- 
tory, lie put a large value upon the lessons of experience, 
and in his re-discoveries he simply laid hold of the rudiments 
of philosophy, rebuilt them in the presence of his pupils and 
with their help, into forms more complicated and intricate. In 
spirit and method it was original work, and brought his depart- 
ment into line with modern science. While it might not be 
the absolute and unqualified truth to say that he anticipated 
what is known as physiological pyschology, yet his habit of 
viewing man as a whole, of beginning with the body, and of 
studying it in relation to the intellectual and moral faculties, 
was an authentic forerunner of it. 

The range of his work was extensive. For many years he 
had eleven exercises weekly with the senior class. Two-thirds 
of the instruction of that class fell upon him. What he at- 
tempted to do for it in the line of investigation, what fields of 
thought and research he explored with them, is briefly sum- 
marised in one of his latest Baccalaureate sermons, lie under- 

136 Berkshire Historical Society. 

took to investigate rwin ; to discover his place in nature ; to 
exhibit the systems that compose his body ; to explore the 
mazes of mental science and the " misty regions of metaphysics 
that lie beyond ;" to examine the grounds of obligation and of 
belief in the being of God ; to trace the analogies between rea- 
son and revelation, as well as to survey the doctrines and mys- 
teries of Christianity. It was a comprehensive scheme, and 
touched most of the great intellectual and spiritual problems 
of humanity. 

Eminent instructors have their own way of handling classes, 
and the individuality of their work is no lesb positive and de- 
terminate than that of painters or musicians. Niebuhr found 
lectures a satisfactory organ of instruction. " He read word 
for word from his manuscript," says Kosenkranz, "and what a 
teacher was he! " 

It has been said of Dr. Wayland, who made a strong im- 
pression upon many of his pupils, that " he was an educating 
force rather than a great or inspiring teacher." His success 
was not so much the triumph of skill and address as of sheer 
strength. With sufficient opportunity for reflection he ana- 
lyzed subjects clearly and illustrated them forcibly, but he 
lacked celerity, in mental processes. He had little of the swift 
intuition which penetrates character at a glance and as quickly 
shapes instruction to the occasion. 

1 have spoken already of Dr. Arnold— of the changes which 
he effected in the public schools of England and of the early 
and unquestioning instinct, the bent of mind that no combina- 
tion of circumstances would be likely to over-bear, which led 
him into the vocation of teacher. His methods of work took 
form and color, on the one hand, from his evangelistic fervor, 
his earnest desire that "to the enquiring love of truth" his 
pupils should add "the divine love of goodness ;" his absorb- 
ing ambition to compass an education which " was not (accord- 
ing to the popular phrase) based upon religion, but was itself 
religious ; " and on the other, from the fact that he dealt most- 
ly with boys in the preparatory stage. To a considerable ex- 
tent he was their companion, and entered with zest into their 
games and recreations. lie diffused among them, however, a 

Mark Hopkins, Teacher. 137 

spirit of seriousness, led them to self-respect and to a conviction 
that some honorable toil awaited them in the world. What- 
ever their peculiar bent might he, in whatever direction their 
abilities might lie, they felt sure of his sympathy, and that 
gave them confidence in themselves and in their work. 

" To us thou wast still 
Cheerful and helpful and (inn I 
Therefore to thee it was given 
Many to save with thyself." 

While Arnold's '• unhasting, unresting" labors have borne 
much religious fruit, it is not to be supposed that they lacked 
intellectuality, though that was not their predominant feature. 
lie believed the union between moral and intellectual excel- 
lence to be very intimate. His habit was, not to drench his 
pupils with information, but to stimulate independence of in- 
vestigation by questions and suggestions. Yet after all it was 
the personal element that told most effectively, for many of his 
contemporaries were his equals in intellect and his superiors in 
scholarship — the personal element which it is so difficult to 
characterize and so impossible to measure. " The system is 
lost in the man," says Dean Stanley, "the recollections of the 
head-master of Rugby are inseparable from the recollections of 
the personal guide and friend of his scholars." 

Another great teacher of yet different mould belongs to our 
generation — Agassiz. He also was a man of unique and en- 
gaging personality. The Gallic power of pleasing appeared in 
him to an exceptional degree. So intense and comprehensive 
was his enthusiasm for his specialties, that, if it had not been 
held in check by a steadiness of discrimination that lurked be- 
neath all the glow and fervor, he must have become a fanatic, 
and his intensity was linked with fascinating gifts of speech. 
Such a mental equipment led of necessity to a lecture system 
of teaching — to oratory adjusted to the class room. Agassiz 
trained his students in the use of their senses; he set them at 
tasks of observation and comparison. Natural science cannot 
be taught successfully without resort to this sort of drill. 
That the methods which it demauds are not wholly applicable 
to philosophy is obvious enough. Yet, after all the appropri- 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

ate qualifications have been made, it remains that the salient, 
individualizing element in Agassiz's teaching was his luminous 
and persuasive talk. 

But no one of these eminent men was as great an artist in 
the class-room, no one of them carried instruction to such a 
consummate pitch of spiritual power as Dr. Hopkins. J I is art 
was as natural and unstudied as the lyric gifts of Robert Burns. 
Yet it was art of the iirst order, though 1 presume he would 
have been the last man in the world to claim any such thing. 
It was worth a journey across the continent to see him manage 
a class. He fathomed students by a flash of intuition. If they 
ever deceived him, it was an unusual occurrence. To know 
them, to penetrate beneath the surface and discover what may 
be found there, to recognize possibilities as well as actualities, 
are cardinal points in an ideal teacher, and he had them in rare 
perfection. With this knowledge of human nature he could 
walk firmly and confidently. " It is far easier," he once said, 
" to generalize a class and give it a lesson to get by rote and 
hear it said and let it pass than it is to watch progress of the 
individual mind and awaken interest and answer objections and 
explore tendencies.' 1 lie never generalized a class. Of course 
in every considerable number of students there are some whom 
it is impossible to teach ; whom the resources of the most ac- 
complished instructor are powerless to rouse out of their slug- 
gishness and indifference. To carry forward a class of ingenu- 
ous youth, watching them as they conquer new positions and 
gain broader views tilled him, Dr. Hopkins says, with some 
such ecstasy as Wordsworth felt when he beheld a rainbow in 
the sky. But if, as will sometimes happen, he has an insensi- 
tive, unimpressionable class ; if his words fall dead and there is 
no interest, the depression will be correspondingly great. He 
has spoken strongly on this point and his words are worth 
quoting. In this absence of enthusiasm the instructor alone, 
he said, "can know the anxiety, I had almost said agony with 
which, as the prophet of old on the dead body of the child, he 
once and again as it were puts his mouth to its mouth, and his 
eyes to its eyes and stretches himself upon the class, and finds 
no life come. And he alone knows how cheerless and hope- 

Mark Jlojykins, Teacher. 139 

less and slavish is the dull routine of liis labors after that. 
There are, it seems to me, few modes of gaining a living short 
of actual villainy, which a man of sensibility would not prefer 
to it!" 

Dr. Hopkins understood "the worth and significance of per- 
sonality." It was a conception that underlay the whole econ- 
omy of his teaching. lie had reached substantially the same 
doctrine as that which Mnlford enunciates in his " Republic of 
(-rod." All dogmatic methods of teaching — methods which 
would sacrifice the independence t*f the student in the interest 
of some system of philosophy — are in so far inimical to person- 
ality which involves its own freedom and self-determination ; 
which " is impaired in the same measure in which it is deter- 
mined from without." It is a doctrine the importance of 
which many distinguished teachers have failed to realize. 
They have been more zealous to make converts to their theories 
than to develop individuality. In not a few instances their 
partizanship reached the pitch of intolerance. What they 
thought and felt they would have their students think and feel. 
To dissent subjected the pupil to suspicions that something was 
wrong in mind or heart. The truth is placed before him for 
acceptance, not for investigation and criticism. Perhaps it is 
unnecessary that I should cite examples in illustration of thi s 
method of teaching. It would not be difficult to do so, as they 
are sufficiently numerous. There was a strain of the dogmatic 
in Sir William Hamilton for whom Dr. Hopkins had a hearty 
admiration, though he did not fully accept his philosophy. 
Hamilton won the love and admiration of his pupils, yet he 
took dissent from his opinions impatiently; his ardent and im- 
perious temper chafed under opposition ; the atmosphere of 
his lecture room certainly put no premium upon independence 
of thinking. In Dr. Hopkins there was absolutely no trace of 
the dogmatic spirit. When students adopted his opinions 
doubtless he was gratified, but he considered it of vastly higher 
importance to establish habits of self reliance. For this reason 
he encouraged freedom of inquiry. " You have been trained," 
he said in his Baccalaureate Sermon before the class of 1867, 
" to regard the freest discussion not only as a right but as a 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

duty. You will bear me witness that you have been called 
unto liberty." And the young men were called unto this 
liberty, that, through the exercise of it they might attain 
a noble personality. lie dwelt somewhat at large upon 
this theme in the Baccalaureate for 1859. "Bring out your 
own individuality," he said, " It is your own. As such respect 
and cherish it; only avoid all affected singularity; you will, I 
think, allow that that individuality has been respected in your 
course of instruction here; that the object has been not to put 
upon you the ear-mark of any system, but to bring your indivi- 
duality out under the inspiration of a love of truth. If it be 
different from that of others, do not be troubled. It ought to 
be. Bring it out in its simplicity anywhere within the broad 
light and expanse of the one perfect example. * * * And 
while I thus call upon you to bring out your own individuality, 
let me say to you, also, respect that of others ; and not only so, 
appreciate it and rejoice in its manifestation." 

Let no one suppose that this encouragement of freedom grew 
out of indifference: that his own personal convictions sat light- 
ly upon him; that he held them with a loose grasp. Liberality 
has limits. Whatever the intellect may do, the sensibility, the 
spiritual consciousness, draw lines. There is an incident re- 
lated in Dr. Hopkins' last book, " The Scriptural Idea of Man," 
which discloses an intensity of feeling and a peremptoriness of 
action quite unexpected in one who so justly stands as an ex- 
ponent of all that is generous and liberal. " It is now nearly 
forty years," he. remarks, " since the first volume of Emerson's 
essays was published, That volume I bought and read with 
pleasure. The second volume I also bought when that ap- 
peared, but before reading it much, if at all, I happened to 
open to this passage : ' Jesus would absorb the race, but Tom 
Paine, or the coarsest blasphemer helps humanity by resisting 
this exuberance of power.' Immediately closed the book and 
did not open it again till after the death of Emerson. It 
seemed to me so dreadful that ' the coarsest blasphemer ' 
should be welcomed as a benefactor of the race if he could 
only limit the influence of Him who was and is, to me, the 

Mark Hopkins, Teacher. 141 

Redeemer of the race, the second Adam, the man, and whose 
influence was, for me, the hope of the race."' 

It was not as an auxiliary to mental gymnastics merely that 
lie valued freedom. The acquisition of knowledge and of 
intellectual acuteness never satisfied him ; he never rested in 
them as the end of instruction, hut looked upon them as means 
for realizing noble conceptions of life. Liberty and discussion 
shall be stepping stones to loftier ideals. His views of what is 
possible were broad and inspiring. lie saw life whole — saw a 
complete and rounded humanity, not one in which reason 
usurps the functions of other faculties ; in which the inner 
voices of mysticism silence the testimony of the external world, 
nor in which the senses have undue authority and cast discredit 
on spiritual things, but he believed devoutly in a trinity of 
spirit, soul and body. As we have seen he sought to put men 
in possession of their best self, lie rejected everything that 
savoured of dogmatism. With a system like Fenelon's, which 
tends to transform the pupil into an image of the master, he 
had no patience. lie held with Kichter that "it is only 
mediocrity that seeks to supplant the individuality of others by 
its own. 1 ' In what he attempted to do we have the opposite 
pole of the earliest forms of education. They were national 
and purposed to place on every man an unmistakable stamp of 
nationality. Each member of the family or tribe must be 
fashioned after the race type, and differences reduced to the 
lowest point. But lie preached and practiced a gospel of em- 
ancipation, which broke down all artificial restrictions and 
prepared the individual to become "a member of the spiritual 
world of humanity." 

Dr. Hopkins' mind worked with great rapidity in the class 
room. Apparently emergencies did not surprise, much less 
disconcert him. "It was no uncommon thing, 1 ' some one has 
said "for a bright or audacious student to pose Dr. Wayland 
by a sudden question." Neither bright nor audacious students, 
if they ever made the attempt, and I do not recall anything of 
the sort during my college course, had much success with Dr. 
Hopkins, In general his movements were deliberate. lie 
liked to brood over things, to take time for maturing his 


Berksliire Historical Society. 

thought. Under ordinary conditions lie did not write rapidly. 
Most of his literary work was done slowly. I understand that 
his famous Baccalaureates were composed with a good deal of 
deliberation and revision. Yet in case of necessity he could 
accomplish great tasks in a brief time. That admirable vol- 
ume — "The Evidences of Christianity" was thrown of! in a few 
weeks. It was delivered as a series of lectures during the 
month of January, 1844, before the Lowell Institute. The 
preceding commencement took place late in the summer, and 
nothing has been done upon the lectures. They were to be 
prepared in the vacation but when it came the Doctor found 
that his mind would not work. He could not think, or hold 
his attention to the subject. "I knew enough about myself 
and about medicine," he said to the writer, Wk to understand that 
I must stop. I had been doing the work of three men. If 
my physical strength had not been great, so that I was able to 
carry heavy burdens, I do not see how the college could have 
lived at all. The vacation- was short and when the term 
opened in the autumn my duties would be exacting. Bnt I 
dropped everything and went into the woods for three weeks. 
That saved me. I came back and wrote the lectures." Yet in 
the class-room this mental celerity was always present. There 
he had wings. 

Dr. Hopkins' method was Socratic. Of him as well as of 
the old Greek in may be said that he had a genius of interro- 
gation. It was a keen, skillful, kindly questioning, not with- 
out accompaniment of quaint and humorous remark. In later 
years it was seldom that much irony came to the surface. I 
have been told in his earlier work he was somewhat addicted 
to its use. He had a rare and subtile quality of it. To style it 
sarcasm would be too gross, so refined and delicate it was, yet 
so effective. I should not call it the irony of intellectual scorn, 
such as abounds in the books of Matthew Arnold. Nor is it 
to be classed with the lofty and tragic irony of Isaiah and 
Sophocles. It resembles, rather, that of Maurice or of Cardinal 
Newman, in which there is less of the broadsword than of the 
Damuscus blade, in which the desire heroically to cut men out 
of their conceits or stupidities prevails over all considerations 

Mark Hopkins, Teacher. 143 

of scorn. Whether Dr. Hopkins came to regard irony as u the 
language of the devil" and therefore to be renounced, 1 am 
not wholly certain, but it seemed to disappear gradually from 

his teaching. Jf he employed it at all in the latter days it was 
on those exceptional occasions which will now and then arise 
when nothing but caustics are effective. The general temper 
of his class-room was that of absolute candor and fairness. No 
one ever had occasion to complain in this particular. Jle had 
no disposition to confound a student for the sake of enjoying 
his confusion. A gladiator of his rank won victories with ease. 
Yet, though he would assuredly point out to the pupil the ex- 
act bearings of any position he may have taken, and bring him 
to appreciate the precise contents of his words — a process 
which sometimes subjected him to the discomfort of finding 
that he had been talking nonsense — not a trace of intellectual 
pride appeared. "I hear that you cornered several men this 
morning," a friend once remarked to him. "I never do that; 
I never corner men," was the almost indignant reply. 

The Socratic method is not applicable to all subjects or cir- 
cumstances, and even under the most favorable conditions 
must be supplemented by exposition and general didactic com- 
ment. Dr. Hopkins was a master in this sphere as well as in 
the art of dialogue, though he rarely delivered formal lectures 
inasmuch as he thought students could be put to better uses 
than to convert them into writing-machines. The mental dis- 
cipline of copying discourses he did not rate very high. His 
expositions were characterized by clearness and detiniteness. 
He laid great stress upon lucidity. With the use of obscure 
terms he had scarcely more patience than Jonathan Swift who 
pronounced it an inexcusable mistake. "I believe in no tran- 
scendental metaphysics," he said in his lectures at the Lowell 
Institute in 1873, "which is not capable of being communicated 
in good English, and of being understood by any man of good 
common sense." lie recurred to the same thought ten years 
afterwards in a course of lectures at Princeton Theological 
Seminary. "My object has been to aid you, gentlemen, in 
your studies by presenting for your consideration a simpler and 
more definite working apparatus than the one generally 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

adopted. Then his analysis was thorough and penetrating and 
he had abundance of illustrative material at hand. Among his 
books the volume which affords the best example of his didac- 
tic method, which will bring up most vividly to his pupils the 

scenes of his class-room, is ''The Outline Study of Alan." As 
is commonly the case, there was a sensible difference between 

his written and his spoken style, though the same great fun- 
damental qualities appear in both. Jlis published works — I do 
not include among them his sermons which exhibit marked 
oratorical features — are an admirable example of philosophical 
or didactic prose in which lucidity, breadth and thoroughness 
of grasp, dignity of movement and large mental insight are 
noticeable. Jt may be said of them, as it has been of 
Macaulay's works, that they do not contain an obscure sentence. 
Their style has much of the charm which attracts us in what 
the critics call natural English — the English of John Bnnyan 
and William Cobbett. But he cultivated assiduously the habit 
of extempore speech. "I saw very soon after 1 took up the 
work here," he said to me, "that I must learn to think and talk- 
on my feet. Otherwise I could not carry on the institution; 
since in addition to the general care of the college and a large 
amount of teaching — I had in charge for a number of years 
the department of rhetoric as well as of philosophy— I must 
preach every Sunday morning. To write a sermon each week 
was out of the question, so I was driven to speaking without 
notes." He came to have a great facility in utterance. It was 
never voluble but befitted the man, and was germane to the 
subjects with -which he dealt. And in the presence of his 
classes, where his natural reserve loosened and he spoke with 
more than usual freedom, this power of talk was seen at its 
best, abounding in words and phrases richly marked with 
character. While his tuition included much that did not and 
could not get into his books, "The Outline Study of Man," 
has caught something of the clearness simplicity, the pro- 
fundity and fascination of his talk. 

Dr. Hopkins' methods remained substantially unchanged 
during his long career as a teacher. I think, however, that he 
himself supposed they had undergone considerable modiiica- 

M ark Hopkins, Teacher. 145 

tion. Indeed lie said something to that elVeet on tlie only oc- 
casion when I renfember to have heard him refer to them. I 
spoke of his class-room work in 1862-63 as 1 recalled it. 

"Things are different now" — it was in the winter of 1885-80 — 
he replied. "I have changed my ways of teaching since you 
were here." The innovation which he had in mind was the 
use of the blackboard, He employed it successfully in his 
lectures at the Lowell Institute to illustrate his system of 
philosophy, and this experience led him to have analyses and 
summaries of the lessons written upon it for the use of the 
pupils. But I am confident that he overrated the importance 
of this innovation — that in reality it brought with it very 
slight modification of method. 

What Dr. Hopkins' attitude toward truth was and must have 
been is plain from what has been said. It was the catholic 
attitude of a large-moulded philosopher, who while he clings 
to the old, is ready also to welcome the new. Such men stand 
between the past and the present performing oiliees of medi- 
ation. They see very clearly the relations and interdependences 
of things. And thus they escape both extravagant theorizing 
and blind dogmatism. There were strains of a decidedly con- 
servative order in Dr. Hopkins' character, yet he was heartily 
in sympathy with the fresher phases of truth, hi an address 
delivered at Andover in 1837 before the Porter Rhetorical 
Society, he urged the scientifc study of Christianity as adapted 
to secure that "true liberality of mind," which consists "in 
seeing the extent and connections of truth and in giving every- 
thing its place." He was a rationalist in the best meaning of 
that word. Whether this rationalizing habit was the real 
motive that caused the ministerial association, before which he 
appeared to obtain a license for preaching, to look a little 
doubtfully upon him, I am not quite certain. That they hesi- 
tated to grant him the license is well known, and also that they 
gave a different reason for their reluctance. "The ministers 
had a mind not to let me have my papers," the Doctor told a 
friend on his return from the association. ''They said that I 
hadn't been through a theological seminary." But lack of 
theological training did not disqualify him for conducting for 

140 Berkshire Historical Society. 

more than half a century his famous weekly exercise in the 
Assembly's Catechism, though it is probably true that the 
philosopher appeared more prominently in it than the divine. 
This exercise was not distinguished by any marked departure 
from his ordinary methods. Jt was simply an application of 
them to theology. And marvelous were the resources which 
he brought to bear upon the great mysteries of Christianity. 
Occasionally he would ignore the particular phase of doctrine 
which the manual propounded and spent his strength upon 
some principle that was vitally related to it, the exposition of 
which removed objections, cleared up obscurities and prepared 
the mind for its reception. Suppose the topic for the day to 
be the Trinity. How shall it be managed? Shall there be re- 
course to theological disquisitions and metaphysical subtleties? 
They might he proper for a divinity school, but they would be 
out of place before a miscellaneous college class. Now, instead 
of a direct discussion of the doctrine, the Doctor would prob- 
ably execute a flank movement by expounding the law of 
mystery which prevails throughout the universe, and which, 
it is reasonable to suppose, would be displayed signally in the 
constitution of the divine being. "Clouds and darkness," he 
said in his master's oration delivered in 1827, "must still rest 
upon the existence, creative energy and attributes of the Great 
Cause uncaused, and the darkness of excessive bright forever 
compass his throne." If the student got little technical theo- 
logy, he got what is better an insight into the rationale of it. 

Another characteristic of Dr. Hopkins, especially happy in 
its influence upon young men, was the hopefulness, the large 
expectancy with which he surveyed the future. "He taught 
us," said one of his pupils, "to shun the pitfalls of pessimism." 
That men of a morbid and despondent cast have influenced 
society powerfully, it would be impossible to deny. But the 
minor strain, so distinctly audible in the writings of Goethe, 
especially in Faust and the Sorrows of Werther; the constant 
and profund melancholy, the ever present sense of men- 
tal unrest which pervade the political pamphlets, the histories 
and even some of the essays of Carlyle, are by no means their 
most effective qualities. The great success of these men 

Marie Hopkins, Teacher. 147 

must be attributed chiefly to the presence of other and less 
gloomy characterictics. Lithe long run, writers who work in 
the sunshine, who view men and things with eyes of hope 
rather than of foreboding and despair, will attract and hold the 
attention of the world. 

Dr. Hopkins' cheerfulness was a natural result not only of 
his temperament but of his system of philosophy. This is not 
the place to enter upon any exposition of his theories. I am 
concerned here and now with the method rather than the sub- 
stance of his teaching. It is necessary only to say that in his 
philosophy love is the paramount word. Love he believed to 
be the supreme power that lies behind the vast array of second 
causes — behind the confusions and disasters of human history — 
the power that will at length triumph over all opposition and 
dominate the total processes of the globe. '"Rational love," he 
said, "is the central, plastic, unconsciously organizing and ad- 
justing force of a rational society, as natural law and instinct 
are of the inanimate and animal creation. * ~ x ~ * Abide stead- 
fast in it, and * * * you shall work with the providence of 
God." This optimism antedated the construction of his 
philosophical system. As early as 1843 it was in full strength. 
"Rich as are the golden sands that have been brought down 
by the river of time," he then said, "there is every reason to 
believe that those will be richer yet which shall be borne still 
farther on." And thirty years afterwards in the last Bacca- 
laureate Sermon that he ever preached, in which, with a poetic 
fitness for time and occasion, he discussed the circular and 
onward movements of life, he caught up the same strain. "I do 
know that 'God is Love,'" he said. "Whatever else I hold 
on to or give up, I will hold on to that. That I will not give 
up." He did not give it up. The last time he spoke in public 
he brought out this sentiment. One could not come into famil- 
iar converse with a man of such large discourse, looking before 
and after, yet sincerely, confidently expectant withal, and not 
be conscious that he himself grasped life more firmly and 

In all this extraordinary tuition — the most symmetrical and 
perfect that the nineteenth century has produced, no less a fine 


Berkshire Historical Society. 


art than music and painting — technical learning played a sub- 
ordinate part. As lias been intimated, learning is not the fore- 
most constituent in teaching of the highest grade. Erudition 

in our day is cheap. W 

e nave 

plenty of 

men wiio excel in 


acquisition of knowledge, who are familial- with the history 
and condition of their specialties. They have a rich furnish- 
ing of information, but it cannot be said that there has been a 
corresponding advance in pedagogy. Jt is quite possible that in 
some cases the art of teaching may have suffered inconsequence 
of the enormous multiplication of facilities for the acquisition 
of knowledge. Herder thought that the weight of his erudi- 
tion had hurt the spring and elasticity of his mind. Elaborate 
and prolonged preparation has caused more than one instructor 
to lay over much stress upon refinements that are of little use 
or interest to the average student. Dr. Hopkins was not ex- 
actly a student of literature — a peculiarity which he shares 
with some of the greatest men. A few volumes served the 
needs of Hawthorne, and Wordsworth's dependence upon 
books was even less. De Quincey insists that in all probability 
Kant never read a volume of any sort through. There is an 
order of genius which finds its appropriate sphere of work 
among books. From literature it draws its appropriate nour- 
ishment and stimulus. In any other soil it will not flourish — 
it craves the nutriment of reading. Sir William Hamilton 
presents an extreme example. Doubtless in part his course 
was a reaction from the habits of the Scottish philosophers 
who neglected books. But Hamilton embraced in his investi- 
gations Greeks, Romans, and Schoolmen as well as his con- 
tempories on the continent. The antiquarian often eclipses 
the expositor in his pages. In wealth of literary reference he 
has never been surpassed. He laid the authors of ancient and 
modern times under contribution. They furnished chieliy the 
raw material of his lectures and disquisitions. Without these 
auxiliaries, left to the resources of his own thought, his power 
would have been greatly curtailed. But when we open one 
of Dr. Hopkins' books we discover relatively few references 
to other writers. Take his earliest magazine articles, printed 
in the years 1827-1835. These articles are six in number and 

Mark Hopkins, Teacher. 1 ID 

discuss Mystery, The Argument from Nature for the Divine 
Existence, Human Happiness, Originality and The Connection 

between Taste and Morals. Jn the hands of some men these 
subjects would have been decorated by profuse literary refer- 
ence and quotations. Dv. Hopkins cites half a score of writers 
possibly — Whewell, Cudworth, Pascal, Coleridge, Berkeley, 
Paley, Butler and a few others. Nor in his subsequent books 
does his dependence upon reading seem to increase. 

In no respect was he a compiler and readjuster of other 
men's ideas. Whatever message of truth he bore to young 
men was his own, obtained at first hand, and hence lie was 
something more and better that a soiinding-board. In his case 
as in that of all the greatest teachers whom the world lias 
known, it was the power of personality rather than of ac- 
quisition that impressed his pupils. If education were con- 
cerned with knowledge only; if mind did not grow 'dike a 
spirit by. mysterious contact with spirit; thought kindling it- 
self at the tire of living thought," the case would be differ- 
ent. But, unfortunately, there is no necessary connection be- 
tween erudition and inspiration. 

It would be impossible that such tuition as this, combining 
superb intellectual and spiritual qualities, should fail to exert 
upon the pupils who had the good fortune to receive it, an 
influence as wholesome as it was powerful. The main drift of 
it, the salient features which characterize it, the prevailing 
temper and attitude of mind which it tended to fashion, have 
been sufliciently indicated in the foregoing discussion. There 
was a happy balance' in it, an appreciative dealing with the 
past, an expectant attitude toward the future, that precluded 
mischievous reactions when his pupils entered the thick of life 
and must settle questions for themselves. "The last pass-word 1 ' 
says John Morley in the essay on Emerson, "given by the dy- 
ing Antonine was Aequanimitas. \\\ a brighter, wider, more 
living sense than was possible to the noblest in the middle 
of the second century, this, too, was the watchword of the 
Emersonian teaching." It was a watchword, though in a sense 
yet more radically modified and reinforced, in the class-room 
of Dr. Hopkins. I do not mean to say that it was so much 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

the watchword of actual speech as of unconscious tendencies. 
Nor have I forgotten that there were suffusions of the im- 
passioned in this equanimity. It was not impassiveness. A 
latent fire lurked in it — burned underneath the all-embracing 
philosophy. "I exhort you, then," he said to the class of 1855, 
"to no cold caution, but to the in tensest energy both of thought 
Let reason tread her outmost currents. * * * 

and feeling 

Have zeal, have enthnsiai 


Mount u 

p as 

on eairles 

wings, up — up— to the expanse above you there is no limit. 
But this impassioned tone is exceptional. What has been 
styled "a high and transparent sanity" prevails and holds in 
abeyance the demonstrations of fervor. The temperature on 
the high table-lands of philosophy is apt to be, cool. And the 
teaching of Dr. Hopkins, in whom intellectual forces had un- 
doubted pre-eminence, while its admirable practical keenness 
and comprehension were well suited to prepare men for fel- 
lowship with their time, for work in their day and generation, 
tended to calm, not to rouse them. The agitator who deals in 
combustibles ; who fires trains of passion and throws society 
into ferment has his sphere. And Dr. Hopkins did not ap- 
plaud lethargy or stagnation. On the contrary no one could 
be more anxious to promote whatever promises well to the 
world, but he would let understanding and foresight have their 
perfect work. His equanimity was the sober yet aggressive 
serenity of him who sees and knows as well as feels. 

Dr. Hopkins did not establish a school of philosophy. In 
the nature of the case that was impossible. The undogmatic 
temper of his instruction, the absence of partisan bias, the con- 
stant appeal which he made to the individual to be true to him- 
self, precluded such an issue of his career. To train men into 
habits of broad and independent thinking ; to develop the re- 
sources of personality, that "loftiest summit toward which we 
move in our attainment," was his mission and it did not call 
for the erection of a party. A grander and more fitting 
memorial of his work remains — the memorial that is found in 
the enlarged and vatalized lives of his pupils. 




Three years and eteht months before George Washington 
died, George Nixon Briggs was horn (April 12, 1796) in Ad- 
ams, Mass. Samuel Adams, after whom the town was named 
in 1778, was then the Governor; whose chair our new born 
child, after forty-eight years, was to worthily fill for the perfect 
term of seven years, lie died in 18(11 when Abraham Lin- 
coln was President and John A. Andrew was Governor, thus 
having lived under the influence of sixteen Presidents of the 
United States and as many Governors of the Old Bay State. 
Jlis father was forty and his mother thirty-six at his birth, yet 
he was the eleventh of twelve children. Through his. mother 
he shared the blood of the Ilugenots, wdio, during the reign of 
Louis X1Y. of France, because of persecutions, came to the 
American States for a home. 

Wherever settled, they were noted for severe morality, 
great charity, politeness and elegance of manners, superior to 
those of English origin. Reference is here made to his Iluge- 
not descent as hereinafter will appear, as explaining how his 
morality, charity, politeness and dignity were conspicuous in 
presiding over large bodies of political, legal and Christian men. 
These characteristics through his mother glorify a worthy an- 
cestry. Allen Briggs, his father, was born in Cumberland, P. 
L, September 7, 1756, William, was his grandfather; back of 
this we have no information. Allen was the third of four 
sons, Oliver, Benjamin, Allen and Elisha, all early left to the 
care of a widowed mother. Allen became a blacksmith ; was 
without early school-house education and never a student in one; 
though with his children he studied at home till he could read 
and write. His wife could read but not write, though like the 
wife of Col. Joab Stafford, she did make her mark. 

In 1851, George N., writes of his father, saying, "lie was 
the father of twelve children, ten of whom reached maturity. 



Berkshire Historical Society. 

lie possessed a strong, discriminating, logical mind, was an 
observer of men and things, and in general information was 
behind very few men belonging to his class of life in his day. 
I mean mechanics and farmers, lie had a heart full of kind- 
ness and benevolence and an integrity of character worth more 
than the gold of California without it. i never heard him ut- 
ter a sentiment that I could wisli I had not heard from him; 
I never heard him speak an indecent or vulgar word that ] 
should now think would be improper to speak before a family 
of children. In religious sentiment lie was a decided Baptist, 
though his mother was a Quaker, \ never heard him say an un- 
charitable thing of other denominations. He heard preachers 
of all religious sects; and the pleasure of hearing them depen- 
ded not upon the name of the preacher, but upon the sound- 
ness, piety and unction of the sermon. Subject to the frailties 
of human nature he lived the life of the righteous and died his 
death." Born of such parentage, we anticipate a worthy son. 
When his parents were married and came into the county, we do 
not know. Certain recorded deeds indicate that they came into 
Windsor from Rhode Island. In the records of those in the 
Revolutionary army from Windsor are the names of Allen, 
Benjamin and Ebenezer Briggs. (In the church records of 
Stafford's Hill, among those joining the Baptist church in 1772 
is the name of Elisha Briggs.) Allen's wife, Nancy Brown, 
was born in Cumberland, January 11, 1702. In the old bury- 
ing place of Stafford's Hill, is a memorial stone with this rec- 
ord, "Mrs. Nancy Briggs, wife of Captain Allen Briggs, died 
December 21, 1818, aged 5(5." 

On the pay roll of Captain William Clark's company, 
(Col. Benjamin Simonds Regiment and Militia) who marched 
on an alarm from Windsor, (by order of General Schuyler,) to 
Manchester, July, 1777, is found the name of Allen Briggs, 
one of the twenty five names on the pay-roll for fifty miles 
travel. (In like manner, we find Benjamin Briggs, by order 
of General Stark, going from Windsor to Bennington, August 
14, 1777, and again from Windsor to Shaftsbury, October 13 
1780.) That Allen Briggs lived for some time in Windsor 
seems evident; that he subsequently lived in New Providence 

Gov. George M. Briggs, 155 

may be inferred from the following record Joab Stafford to 
Allen Briggs convoys a farm of two-hnndred acres for three- 
hundred and seventy-two and one half pounds in New Provi- 
dence, [November 28, 1785. 

Joab Stafford, [his seal,] 


Susanna x Stafford. 


Twelve days earlier, Nathan Bowen, blacksmith, sells to Al- 
len Briggs, blacksmith, both of Adams, twenty-five acres for 
one-half a dwelling house, and two days later, (November 18), 
Briggs deeds it back to Bowen, January 11, 1786. Thomas 
Biddlecome of Adams sells to Allen Briggs twenty-five acres. 
Why those so frequent changes? Let us search. Allen Briggs, 
in common with other soldiers of the Revolution, had been 
paid in currency not easily exchangeable. After the expiration 
of the Legal Tender act in 1782, an increase of civil actions 
aroused the people against the pressure of taxation, the Shays 
insurrection followed, in which citizens of Adams took an 
active part. In 1787 a number of men from Adams took the 
oath of allegiance and subscribed to the Declaration before 
James Harris and other Justices of the Peace and among the 
names are Allen Briggs and William Whipple. 

This may give us some insight into the ''trying times." A 
letter from Rev. William A. Briggs, son of Allen Briggs, 
Junior, affirms the above in part, "My grandfather, Allen 
Briggs, was born in Cranston, Rhode Island. His first residence 
in Massachusetts the date of which I do not know, was on 
Stafford's Hill, now r a part of Cheshire. lie afterwards moved 
into Adams and, built the first framed house in the village, the 
one in which Uncle George was born, and now in use on Sum- 
mer Street, lie subsequently built the house formerly oc- 
cupied by General Blunkett." It appears from this account 
that though "a first rate blacksmith and followed the business 
all his life," he had some surplus energy exercised in buying 
farms and building houses; yet it does not appear that he 
amassed an ample fortune by his extra labor. His "inflexible 
honesty" may have been in the way of speculative, acquisition. 
lie died in Manchester, where after the death of his wife he 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

lived with a son. Of his twelve children, ten lived to matur- 
ity. Rev. William A. Briggs writes, "I can recall the names 
of only nine of them, and cannot give them in the order of 
their ages. 1 only know they were mostly older than Uncle 
George. There was liufus who was agent for Chancellor 
Livingston in New York. David, who I think lived in Man- 
chester, Vermont, whose sons are living in New York. Allen, 
my father who died in Pittsiield in 1S35. Mason, who never 
married and died some years since in Grafton, Vermont. 
Simon, who lived and died in Painesville, Ohio, in which 
neighborhood his children live. There were three daughters 
who married. The name of the oldest I do not know. She 
married a Purely, lived and died in Michigan. Laurana mar- 
ried Jesse Whipple, lived and died in Adams. Ulyssa, the 
youngest daughter and child, married a Walker and died, with- 
out children, in Grafton, Vermont. (William P. Briggs, a 
nephew of my grandfather, was ad nutted to the bar in Adams 
in 1833 and moved to Vermont, from whom Ex-Senator Ed- 
munds of Vermont, is descended on his mother's side. Peter 
Briggs, son of a brother of my grandfather, was the father of 
the late Mrs. James Clapp of Pittsiield. who lived in the cot- 
tage house on West Street just below the James Clapp resi- 
dence. This about exhausts my stock of definite knowledge in 
regard to the family." 

Let us now turn from his ancestry to the boy himself. For 
the first seven years of his life it is hard to tell what he did, 
with whom he associated, and how much he attended school. 
But we may learn what was going on in the town and county; 
of what the people were thinking and talking; in what con- 
versation his father and mother took a personal interest which 
helped to give direction to the boy's thoughts; his brothers, all 
older than he would share in the conversation, and translate the 
events of the times to his inquisitive mind, so that he could 
comprehend, lie was nearly four years old when Washing- 
ton died; his death causing sorrow in every home. For months 
the conversation would turn to the goodness and greatness of 
the first President of the United States and we doubt not the 
mother used her love in trying to show that her George in like 

Gov. George JY. BHggs. 157 

manner might become good and great, true to his parents, his 
country and his God. All this would he suggested as often as 
she asked him "who was the first President of the United 
States?" He proudly answered "George Washington." Again 
she asks "who is the President now?" She commends him 
for his prompt answer "John Adams" and tells him, perhaps, 
that some day he may go to Washington himself. A year or 
two later the name of Thomas JeJTerson is uttered by his 
youthful tongue. The older children helping the father to 
study at home, had common interest with him in the topics of 
the day; and having been a soldier he could enter more serious- 
ly into the reports of the war in Europe, between England and 
France and the wonderful career of Napoleon Bonaparte. 
When seven years of age, his father moved to Manchester, 
Vermont, some twenty miles north of Bennington, through 
which they passed, calling to mind the famous battle, the in- 
cident of which, from memory, he could tell his children as 
having occurred when he was some twenty years old; describ- 
ing the events with that graphic skill, which, in later years the 
son said, was characteristic of his father. 

To the bo} 7 , General Stark was a living hero whom his 
father had seen; and no doubt himself, since the General did 
not die till 1S22, at the age of 96. So also he doubtless saw 
General Sumter, whom Cornwallis called one of his greatest 
plagues, and the last surviving General of the devolution and 
who died in 1832, aged 98. The sight of such men enkindles 
patriotism and we know it ever burned brightly in the heart Of 
George. In 1 804 we find him following Ids father to White 
Creek, New T York. In 180(1, when he was ten years old, the 
great conspiracy of Aaron Burr was the theme on every tongue. 
His trial and his acquittal in 1807 would not escape the reten- 
tive memory of the lad who thirty years later stood in Wash- 
ington defending the government that Aaron Burr sought to 
destroy. In the same papers the fame of Robert Eulton drew 
the attention of American thinkers, inventors and patriots; in- 
ventors, because of the steamboat; patriots, because of his in- 
vention of submarine bombs, since called torpedoes, and then 
claiming attention because of approaching troubles between 

158 Berkshire Historical Society. 

France and England. While these fingers of American genius 
were just beginning to manifest the power of their grasp, and 
the political condition of the country was demanding serious 
attention, the personal and religions problem of his own life 
pressed hard upon his mind and heart. 

In June, 1810, was held in White Creek village the thir- 
teenth anniversary of the Shaftsbury Association. George's 
father, being "a decided Baptist," attended, as was then the 
custom, took his family with him. The annual sermon was by 
Elder Elijah Peck, from the words of Moses: "Happy art 
thon, Israel; who is like unto thee, O people saved by the 
Lord, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy Ex- 
cellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and 
thou shalt tread upon their high places." Of Elder Peck it is 
written, "His preaching was characterized by plainness and 
force; a holy unction seemed to be upon him which he was 
generally successful in communicating to his hearers." An 
address followed by Doctor Nathaniel Kendrick, afterwards Pro- 
fessor of Theology and Moral Philosophy in Hamilton, New 
York. It was printed and in it are these utterances, well fitted 
to arouse the mind of one already seeking to know his duty, 
"You will grant in the next place, that the preaching of the 
gospel is appointed unto man. The office of angels does 
not extend to this. The divine economy as stated in the 
scriptures and illustrated by providence, authorize the belief 
that man, in this world will be the important instrument of 
publishing the gospel, down to the closing period of time." 
This was part of a missionary address; the subject of Foreign 
Missions just then opening, like the largest of all tropical 
plants, the American Aloe, with its pyramidal panicle of in- 
numerable flowers. Little did the boy-hearer then anticipate 
that half a century later he would himself have been for nearly 
fifteen years Chairman of that same society then multiplied a 
hundred fold. 

Following this Associational meeting was a revival in which 
George gave all his future interests into the care of "One able 
to keep him from falling and to present him faultless before 
the presence of His Glory with exceeding joy." The chief 

Gov. George N. Briggs. 159 

preacher in tin's revival was Elder Israel Mattison, for forty 
years the pastor of the Shaftsbury church. He baptized the 
converts and among them George N. Briggs. In 1814, a few 
weeks after he became G-overnor, and thirty-four after his bap- 
tism he received a letter from the White Creek church, with 
which he joined the Baptist church in Pittsfield. Almost as 
soon as he joined the church he began to exercise what proved 
to be a remarkable talent for persuasive eloquence, urging his 
companions to secure the salvation of their souls. Of. himself 
he says, "I was then a white headed little boy. I used to at- 
tend all the meetings with the gray headed old men and felt as 
old as any of them." From his statement, we learn that, as he 
had opportunity, he exercised and cultivated his gifts and he- 
came widely known as an interesting speaker. The year of 
his newly born eloquence brought another change developing 
new characteristics, lie was deemed old enough to commence 
self-support, even as his brothers had before this. Whether by 
his own choice is uncertain, but he went to learn the trade of a 
hatter, and into the home of John Allen "the excellent 
Quaker," as he afterwards described him, with sincerity of ex- 
pression. Possibly the instinct of his mother had something 
to do with the selection of his trade, because of the quiet man 
whose home would be a blessing to the boy. The example of 
such a man in his quiet ways, his plainness of dress, his sim- 
plicity of language, his purity of thought and utterance, his 
honesty in business matters, in brief, his integrity, moulded 
the life of the apprentice to such a degree as to make his after 
life Quakeresque in simplicity of dress and taste, and in urban- 
ity of manners. 

In conversation with his employer, he was led away from 
every heroic view of warfare, to the quieter view of peaceful 
settlements through honorable and just concessions. His in- 
nate love of argument increased, but was held under quieter 
control by the patience and wisdom of his friend John Allen. 
We can fancy with what interest they discussed the events of 
their times. Jefferson's Embargo would be one theme; or- 
dered it seems to keep the American shipping from being de- 
voured by France or England, by keeping it at home. — Hon- 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

intercourse with France and England, and the collision of in- 
terests of all three of the nations, was another ample theme. 
What fighting there was, was wholly upon the sea, enlivened 
only occasionally by some naval pleasantry at which the 
placid Quaker could smile, and which the hoy story teller 
could relate with evident relish. Take one instance : A British 
Man-of-War, captured, plundered and sunk a French merch- 
ant ship. On board the British ship, at dinner, a few days 
later, toasts were drank; the insolent English Captain Looking 
at his prisoner, the French commander, gave this toast, 
"Britannia rules the wave." A few days later an American 
Man-of-War hove in sight and captured the British ship and 
sent it down to keep company with the sunken French Merch- 
ant, while the American commanding officer had two captured 
officers at his table. There was another toasting dinner ; this 
time in his best English the French Captain gave his toast, 
looking no doubt at his fellow prisoner, "Britanne, he rule de 
wave!" George could say it with the look and shrug and tone 
of a Frenchman. Under the wise guidance of his employer, 
lie developed a self-conscious ability to such a degree as to de- 
cide that his life work should not be to cover other men's 
heads with his handiwork, but rather to till their heads and 
hearts with love of law both human and divine. So he left 
the hatter's shop never more to follow the trade. The war of 
1812-'15 had its direct and indirect influence in the township. 

Recruiting officers and young captains, in their atttactive 
military dress were frequent visitors of public places and pri- 
vate families. Their prospective deeds of bravery and their 
visible acts of galantry won many a recruit from the ranks of 
the soldier loving maidens. Our young hatter had been 
skirmishing with a young lady and was on the point of makin<>- 
her surrender, when a young officer with a sword and military 
cap, more attractive than a plain Quaker hat, joined in the 
strife and captured the maiden from George, though he never 
married her. Her after life was one of descent rather than of 
elevation. While the discarded George worked upward to a 
station that would add dignity to any wife. Just how much 
this military episode had to do with making him unwilling to 

Gov. George JV. Briggs. 161 

be a soldier, and hastening his departure to the better land of 
Berkshire, is left to the judgment of those who read this 
story. A brief note by himself in after years covers the his- 
tory of a year, and the last in his father's home. "Then in an 
irregular manner I attended, for a year, a respectable gram- 
mar school; my studies being very much interrupted by other 
indispensible occupations." His desire to do good branched in 
two directions, medicine and law. The latter outgrew and 
shaded the former, possibly because that year Madison, by ap- 
proval of Congress, had declared war; and in the debating clubs 
of White Creek, his patriotism, and its prevalent power, led 
him to see that the stimulant of justice and civic virtue could 
better be prescribed by him, than ipecac or pulsatilla. So, a 
year later, we find him walking into this county with a 
small trunk upon his back containing all his worldly goods. 
That same month Commodore Perry, at the age of twenty- 
eight, became the hero of Lake Erie. Later, in October, 
General Harrison near the Thames defeated the British Army 
under General Preston, in which action the historic Indian 
chief Tecumseh was slain. As our George read these acts in 
in the drama of our Nation's history, do you think the curtain 
of thirty years was lifted and he saw himself in Washington 
aiding in the Inauguration of William Henry Harrison as 
President; a month later, attending his national funeral, the 
first, of a President dying in office and a few months later, 
pleading in Congress for the payment of one year's salary to 
the widow. 

On coming into Pittsfield he found the land now known as 
Maplewood, a cantonment, allotted to a particular regiment, 
the ninth, again assuming the activity of a military post, 
twenty-six years after General Lincoln's occupation of it with 
his little army to quell the Shays rebellion. Pittsfield was also 
a depot for prisoners of war among whom not many weeks 
later could be seen some of the valiant though vanquished 
naval soldiers of the battle on Lake Erie. In October, of that 
year, all Berkshire came to Pittsfield, not only to see the can- 
tonment and the prisoners there, but also the cattle show of 
the county, made more than usually attractive by the first 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

elephant that crossed the Berkshire hills. Of him the notice; 
said, "Now or never. This generation may never have again 
an opportunity to see an elephant. lie is not only the largest 
hut most sagacious animal in the world, and from the peculiar 
manner in which lie takes his food and drink, with his trunk, 
is acknowledged to he the greatest natural curiosity in the 
world or ever offered to the public." Twenty elephants a 
year, with all their learned tricks, may visit Berkshire; hut not 
once in a generation comes a man hearing his own trunk like 
George N. Brio's. U the name of this "largest elephant in 
America" was Columbus he fell through a bridge in Adams, 
1861. Ex-Governor Briggs, just then released from State bur- 
dens, was retained to plead the rights of the departed Colum- 
bus* Again and again was the case tried; the juries could 
never agree that an elephant, weighing five tons was justified 
in falling through a bridge at an ex pence of $15,000 to the 
town. The case worked its way to the Supreme Court in 
Boston. In April, 1862, Henry S. Briggs, Esq.. the youngest 
son of the Governor, was conducting the ease. lie. withdrew 
from the court under orders to take command of the Allen 
Guards in the Eight Regiment, Massachusetts, and somehow 
the case was settled. 

A few days after the Cattle Show we find George N., a 
student in the otHce of Ambrose Kasson in Adams. lie had 
been less than five years in practice, and during his whole life 
left no historic maik on any legal matter. With good judgment 
we think, the student sought another teacher and found him 
in Luther Washburn, Esq., of Lanesboro for twenty years and 
afterwards in Pittstield. 1 lis ability is attested by his appoint- 
ment as associate justice of the Court of Sessions in 1827 and 
1828. We learn little of our student's work for the next 
three years, and that little from his own letters. In one of 
these to bis brother Rufus he reveals himself and purpose in 
these words, "Perfection is what I have no idea of attaining, 
while shackled with human nature; but consistency is that after 
which I am resolved to reach. Candor shall he my bosom com- 
panion; justice shall be my guide; and nobly to t /z7/ the sphere 
in which I move, shall be the great end and aim of my labor." 

Gov. George N. Briggs. 1G3 

The active agents of a revival, in 1S17, resulting in the for- 
mation of the Lanesboro Baptist church, wore Mr. Briggs and 
Augustus Beach, then a teacher in town and recently from 
Williams College. Both were enthusiastic, zealous, eloquent 
and thoroughly devoted to moral and religious reform. Their 
united labors at this time strengthened a friendship that in- 
creased with years. William Beach, then studying for the 
ministry, tried to win his friend to a like purpose, urging the 
tendency of legal practice to lead from a Godly life, For that 
reason, among others, the law student urged that there should 
be religious advocates to urge and practice justice and right- 
eousness; and he purposed to show the world that a man could 
be a lawyer and a Christian. From this early formed purpose 
he never swerved. 

Among those forming the church named above was Mr. 
Beach and the future wife of Mr. Briggs who himself labored 
zealously with Mr. Beach and evidently producing lasting im- 
pressions for good on each other, it is possible that in historic 
writing more attention and praise is given to what a man does 
for himself and others, than in calling the attention to the for- 
mative influence of other men upon himself and especially when 
that influence is by men benevolent, patriotic, heroic and re- 
ligious, through personal contact and by published records ; 
for even books become companions, so that men are known 
by the books they read. How much Mr. Briggs' enthusiastic 
interest in the temperance cause had its growth in the earnest 
fellowship of labor with Mr. Beach cannot be fully determined. 
From history we learn "he was a man of marked character in 
his profession ; being a revivalist in religion and a reformer in 
morals. Well qualified for a leader in the church militant, he 
was ever ready to assail not only every form of wrong that 
presented itself, but all which he could seek out. His eloquence, 
powerful by its earnestness and logic, did not lack success. 
He combatted indifference, irreligion and sin with all his might. 
As intemperance was then the special wrong, he made him- 
self a devoted champion against that vice. • It was he who 
iirst persuaded the friends of temperance in Pittsfield to 
make total abstinence from wine, beer and cider as well as 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

from all distilled liquors, the corner stone of their creed." As 
philanthropists, these two young men encouraged one another; 
and often in schoolhouses, public halls and churches they ad- 
vocated the cause of temperance together and were listened 
to with an attention caught hy their eloquence and held hy 
their own convictions. 

The first flash of Briggs' sword in his battle with the dragon 
was in the bar-room of a small tavern in Lanesboro' in 1828, in 
the early twilight of the great reformation. 11a had drawn up 
a pledge to be considered. It was no compromise with dan- 
ger. It declared total abstinence from ardent spirits. Mr. 
Hubbel, a lawyer, opposed the adoption of a pledge so broad ; 
it was going too far ; at times it was best to use a little — wash- 
ing sheep — haying — cutting wood in the winter on the hills 
etc. There was need of temperance, but total abstainer was 
an extreme to be avoided. Briggs insisted the only safety was 
in letting it entirely alone as a beverage ; that a little occasion- 
ally, even, was injurious. This was his illustration, "A rattle 
snake lies here upon the floor ; he is quiet. One man says ' I 
can touch him ; he won't bite me. I'm not afraid.' lie is told 
not to do it. There is danger if he touches him ; he is safe if 
he lets him alone, lie replies, '1 can take care of myself. I'm 
not afraid of the snake.' Bemonstrance is in vain ; he stoops 
and touches him; the snake strikes the presumptuous hand with 
his venimous fangs, the man dies." As Mr. Briggs closed his 
speech, a man intoxicated, leaned forward and with unsteady 
speech said to Squire Curtis, the chairman, "Squire Hubbel 
has 'spressed my mind zackley." A loud laugh followed, 
whereupon Squire Hubbel arose and said, "I knew that man 
when he was a sober, respectable citizen ; a man of property. 
His appearance here tonight has destroyed all my argument. 
By taking a little occasionally, he has brought himself to this 
condition. I go for the pledge." Whether Mr. Briggs' speech 
or that of the drunkard, convinced Squire Hubbel, we do not 
discuss. The aim is to show the vivid way he presented his 
views and picture power, illustrating all his temperance 
speeches. Add to this a face that could be made to express 
every shade of emotion, and a voice in harmony with the ex- 


Gov. George N. Tiriggs. 10; 

possibility of his countenance and thus learn something of the 

secret of his oratorical power. To contrast the influence of his 
young friend, Mr. Beach, upon him, we turn to another friend- 
ship formed the same year with an old man, more than three 
times his age; the Rev. Daniel Collins, pastor of the Congre- 
gational Church since 1763, and who died in 1822, aged 84, 
after a pastorship of more than 58 years. From a small set- 
tlement in the wilderness he had seen the town grow into an 
enterprising community. He was a Calvinist of the strictest 
kind ; of dignified manners and real piety ; and with his old- 
fashioned courtesy, was respected by all. lie was of the old 
continental gentry with cue and kneebuckles courtly as an 

A strong tory through the Revolution, yet holding the 
respect of all, though not always giving satisfaction. Tall, 
erect, agile and wearing to the last the ministerial wig and 
three cornered hat. He expected and demanded reverence 
from every one he met, even a child, and gave his in return. 
Blending dignity with good humor, he acted as the father of 
the people, and gave his opinions with the appearance of con- 
scious authority. With this man, whose long control of the 
spiritual interests of the town had made him somewhat dog- 
matic, and who did not relish the formation of another re- 
ligious society within his domains, Mr. Briggs came in contact 
in a conversation concerning the new society. In the discus- 
sion Mr. Collins avowed his disbelief in the Baptist creed an<j 
practice. As he gave his reasons he was met with courtesy 
and modesty of manner by the law student who presented a 
clear statement of his views; he expressed them with the sin- 
cerity of awe, loving the cause he defended, and yet with such 
evident respect for the opinions of Mr. Collins and with an 
honest desire, if he was in error,to be convinced by arguments, 
drawn from the Bible, that, though disconcerted at first, he 
could not help admiring his young opponent, and ever after- 
ward they worked together with mutual regard, in all good, 
works. From his young friend, Mr. Beach, he gained in zeal 
and enthusiasm, while the wisdom and experience of the aged 
Mr. Collins taught him to hold under wise control his own 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

impulses. In almost daily intercourse with such different men 
was augmented that characteristic mentioned in a memorial 
tribute by Chief Justice Bigelow. "Jlis great affability of 
manner, and the republican simplicity which characterized his 
intercourse with others allowed every one to approach him 
with perfect freedom ; and he won the hearts of all by the 
genial traits which distinguished him." This allowing all men 
to approach him, implies that he allowed himself to approach 
all men with an adaptability that made any person feel that 
Briggs was his personal friend. The republican simplicity 
mentioned above was the wealthy product of thoughts, ger- 
minated in his earlier Quaker experience. 

Let us ponder a little more his Lanesboro' friendships, as 
forces developing his character. We turn to his boarding 
home with Dr. William II. Tyler, a native of Lanesboro' and 
sixteen years older than his boarder. After a full course of 
study and some practice in the Marine Hospital in New York, 
he settled in Lanesboro' in 1815 and soon had an extensive 
practice, never neglecting the poor because unable to pay. In 
the quiet of his office he would relate the incidents of his day's 
ride and his pleasure in alleviating the sufferings of the poor, 
whose recovery was his reward, superadded to their gratitude. 
He knew he had a ready listener in one who had almost 
chosen the like calling. Sometimes he would take George in 
his professional rides, that he might see, for himself the need 
of help in the homes of want. How better could his sympa- 
thetic and benevolent nature have been aroused ? We know 
that his later life was full of kind deeds, at the bedside of the 
sick and in the darkened room of the mourners. To have 
lived with a Doctor whose successful practice made him a 
member of the Massachusetts Medical Society, whose popu- 
larity made him a member of the Legislature in 1815-'20-'31-'35, 
was no small aid in forming a good and generous character. 
The Doctor outlived the governor and from a letter written 
by him in March 180*2 we learn his judgment of the student 
who entered his family in November 1814, "being as I sup- 
posed seventeen or eighteen years old. lie was a very sociable 
and companionable inmate with us for two years, during which 

Gov. George JV. Briggs. 1G7 

he was a remarkably close applicant to his studies. Nothing 
diverted his attention, unless sometimes a law question came up 
among the social friends who visited the office. He would 
then exhibit his tact and skill for argument. His natural en- 
dowments were of a high order ; his mind active and brilliant. 
I never saw or heard of his being angry, and being always cheer- 
ful himself, he contributed much to the cheerfulness of others. 
He was sometimes merry and often related incidents in such 
a fascinating manner as to charm his hearers; but with so much 
prudence, as never to trespass against anything sacred, lie 
had a better knowledge of the Scriptures than any man of his 
age with whom I was acquainted, and his accuracy in quoting, 
I had an opportunity of witnessing several times. When other 
lawyers had misquoted, he very readily and happily corrected 

But we turn from the doctor, whose words we have quoted, 
to a far different man who, more than any other, gave a trend 
to George's political aspirations, the Hon. Henry Shaw, who, 
soon after his acquaintance with Briggs, was sent to Washing- 
ton for two Congressional terms, (1817— '21). Born in Ver- 
mont, his father a doctor and member of Congress in 1812, he 
came early into Lanesboro' ; — how he came we will briefly re- 

After his college days, he went into a law office in New 
York, having as a fellow-student the late Judge Savage. In 
one of their vacations, they drove a team tandem over the 
mountains into Lanesboro'. Saturday night, near a blacksmith 
shop, their carriage broke down, and not far from a house still 
standing, then owned by Squire Williams. He invited the 
young men to spend the night and the next day with him. 
They found a welcome in an aristocratic family, with colored 
servants, and two very well educated and amiable daughters, 
who subsequently became Mrs. Shaw and Mrs. Savage. When 
their father died, he left to each of his sons-in-law $50,000. 
Hence Mr. Shaw's home was in Lanesboro', and with the 
money he built the first woolen mill in Pontoosuc. His aris- 
tocratic nature was an inheritance from his mother. In Lanes- 
boro', he quickly became a leader, for his talents were of a 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

high order and their cultivation gave him a grasp far-reaching 

and strong. Independent, fearless, truthful, lie was unfitted 
to aet the part of a demagogue — a variable politician — and for 
this reason was not always popular among ordinary men. His 
early training and ancestry may have fostered an aristocratic 
feeling; and his ample fortune did not help to restrain its 
manifestation. He was not a man to choose associates from 
among the lowly, and yet, aristocratic as he was, he in some 
way became the strong friend of our plebeian student. Tie 
sought him in his office — it may he because of his interest in 
the profession — hut lie discovered ability and capacity which 
soon became his pleasure to develop. 

The politics of that day, as now, dealt largely in home in- 
dustries and their need of national protection. Hardly had 
Mr. Shaw dropped these seeds in the mind of his new friend, 
before he was sent to Washington, where he became attached 
to Henry Clay, then leader in the matter of protection to home 

His letters to George describe the noted men, their appear- 
ance, styles of argument and oratory, showing his habit of ob- 
servation and power of description, all tending to generate or 
cultivate our young lawyer's political aspirations. Here is part 
of a letter written January 21, ISIS. "Dear George, we are 

in the midst of the debate on the Seminole war. II has 

made a speech that I presume will be read with applause ; but 
you can scarcely imagine how disgusting his manner is. lie 
was barely tolerated. Clay, yesterday, opened the Hood -gates 
of his most powerful and captivating eloquence. His manner 
is without parallel. The whole House was held for two hours 
with breathless interest. (The tears fell not alone from the 
eye of beauty, but chased each other down the cheeks of many 
a hard-faced veteran.) Yet, 1 presume after all, the former 
will read the best. So much is the manner to be regarded in 
an orator. Study to make yourself master of this art. Language 
is something, but manner is everything." 

Three days later, he writes, "I told you something about 
Henry Clay. He is not however, in my judgement, the ablest 
man in the House. Philip II. Barbour, of Virginia, is about 

Gov. George N. Briggs. 169 

the average height, very spare in person, has a keen, penetrat- 
ing eye, a sort of violence in his whole countenance, which, 
while it indicates strong passions, warns yon that his head is 
the habitation of genius. In debate, he is all on lire and lights 
up in his .hearers a corresponding blaze. His action is vehe- 
ment, irregular and of Course, ungraceful. His voice is shrill 
and gives you pain rather than delight, ilis mind Hashes upon 
a subject with the vivacity of lightning and leaves it surrounded 
witli the light of the noon-day sun. lie is beyond comparison 
the most logical reasoner in the House, and perhaps, is not sur- 
passed by any in the nation. His "language is pure, figurative, 
and flows with the rapidity and fullness of a mountain torrent. 
Add to this that all the members respect him and consider him 
an honest man and a sound constitutional politician. He is 
plain in his appearance and manner, without ostentation. Con- 
sidering his age — only thirty-five — and the power of his intel- 
lect, I should not be surprised to see him at no distant day fill- 
ing some distinguished station in his country's service." Mr. 
Shaw's judgment was verified. In 1830, after many high offi- 
ces, he was transferred to the Supreme Court of the United 
States, where he died ten years after Mr. Briggs became a 
member of Congress. 

Such letters to a young man, just admitted to the bar, and 
right along the line of his budding ambition, could not fail to 
hasten its growth, already visible to his friends. "Language 
is something, but manner is everything." He was an apt stu- 
dent and did not fail to profit by the advice of his friend. Any 
wdio heard him in addresses designed to impel men to right 
feelings and actions can remember the command he had of 
every muscle of his clean-shaven face; his very looks express- 
ing his fervid emotions, while his voice and gestures sent them 
hot from his heart into theirs, lie somehow seemed to draw 
from his attentive audience the same sentiments and emotions 
which reheated in his own soul's furnace, he forced back into 
theirs, fused into activities. Just now, however, we are speak- 
ing of the moulding influences acting upon him as well as the 
mind so ready to receive formative impressions. Among 
these influences, was his acquaintance with Miss Harriet Hall, 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

of Lanesboro', a young lady of sympathetic mind, amiable and 
active in temperament, and like himself, demonstrative in re- 
ligious efforts. Before, as after their marriage in 1818, she 
was helpful, encouraging his aspirations along the line of jus- 
tice among men and efforts towards the mercy seat. She 
made his home attractive for him and all his friends. Soon 
after his marriage he was admitted to the bar and opened an 
office in his native village, hiring for thirty dollars per year, a 
little green house with but three rooms including the chamber, 
and without cellar or woodhouse. 

His ability as a speaker on public matters brought him 
speedily into politics, and but for lack of property qualifica- 
tion he would have been sent to the State Legislature. How- 
ever he remained in his office and gave more study to the laws. 
In the words of an associate, "he rose rapidly in his profession 
and soon stood, as a jury lawyer, at the head of the bar in his 
own county; the eloquence and power of the young advocate 
being in all that region admired and applauded." A careful 
reading of his speeches will reveal his innate love of justice. 
Somewhere in all his speeches, spoken or printed, he advocated 
the claims of justice and made earnest appeals to this element 
of human and divine law. This love of justice may be seen 
in some of his legal cases. A Mr. Chapman of Stephentown, 
N. Y., in purchasing a horse was deceived by the seller, so 
badly that he sought counsel of lawyer Briggs. Fearing such 
a suit, the seller had sought also Briggs' counsel and paid him 
a retainer of ten dollars. Mr. Briggs heard Chapman's story 
and saw at once justice was on his side ; but it would cost him 
more than the value of the horse to get it. lie told him so, 
adding that he had been retained by the other party. Giving 
Chapman the ten dollars, he advised him not to prosecute, 
which advice was followed. Another instance: a young man 
sued on a note of twenty dollars, asked Mr. Briggs to defend 
him. "On what grounds?" "J am not yet of age." "The 
plea is valid in law but not in justice," said Mr. Briggs. "But 
the holder of the note has provoked me and I wish to show 
him my spirit, will you tend to the case?" "Yes, for twenty- 
live dollars." With the twenty-five dollars in hand, Mr. 

Gov. George N. . Brigys. 1 7 1 

Briggs settled the ease by paying the note and retaining the 
five dollars. But when he did appear before a jury, it was 
after a careful examination of the case and the conviction that 
justice was in the claim of his client. A case in point was that 
of the Indian "Sam,' 1 charged with the crime of murder. 
Briggs, by appointment of the Judge, defended him. Thorough 
study of the facts convinced Briggs of the man's innocence. 
His argument before the jury was logical, earnest, eloquent, 
and should have convinced the jury, for, as some one has said , 
"his plea was truly a model of jury eloquence." The jury, 
with perhaps an unconscious prejudice against Indians, ren- 
dered a verdict of guilty, and Samuel P. Charles, an Oneida 
Indian, was executed in Lenox, November 22, 1826, for mur- 
dering a man of color in Richmond, a crime he did not com- 
mit ; four years later, another man, on the near approach of 
death, confessed himself to be the murderer. Briggs was 
right, and his moral instinct gave him insight at the bar of 
human iudgment. The writer of this history heard him say, 
when he was a judge, that he often heard the whole case, and 
then without looking up the law, or precedents, decided as he 
thought justice would require and seldom had such a decision 
been reversed by a higher court. 

After a year in Adams, he removed to Lanesboro' ; thence, 
in 1842, to Pittsiield. Meeting four or live times a year in 
Lenox such men as Caleb Strong, Daniel Dewey, Ephraim 
Williams, William C. Jarvis, Luther Washburn, Col. Henry 
Dwight, Thomas Robinson, James A. Hyde, Horatio Byington, 
Henry W. Bishop, George J. Tucker, lion. Julius Rockwell 
and Increase Sumner, he would grow brighter and stronger 
and better by the contact. Outside the bar, he sought the 
welfare of the people. A meeting in Pittsfield, December, 
1827, in the interest of Wool Growers and Manufacturers is on 
record, at which a memorial was adopted and sent to Congress. 
Of the second speech we have this report : " George N. Briggs, 
Esq., displayed an accuracy of knowledge and depth of thought 
and reason upon the great topics of the meeting and the future 
prospects of the country in regard to them, answering to the 
high appreciation which the county entertains of his abilities." 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

Fifteen years after he saw his first elephant and cattle show, 
and, as the fir^t vice-president of the Agricultural Society, de- 
livered an address for the " Promotion of Agriculture and 
Manufactures," this was in October, 1828. The address is long 
and I may not read it now, yet I may copy a sentence or two. 
" Perfection is not stamped upon the works of man. That 
divine work is only applicable to the workmanship of the 
Diety. Yet man only shows himself worthy of the elevated 
station which his Maker has assigned him in the creation, when 
he bends all his energies and directs all the faculties of his 
active mind in endeavoring to approach that trait in his 
Creator's works." 

This address to the citizens of the County increased his 
popularity. Through holding four important oflices in the 
town and county, he came into personal and helpful relations 
with many men; add his temperence addresses in almost every 
hall and school-house in the county, with the reports in the 
weekly papers and he became a very popular man. What, 
wonder, then, that the next year he was chosen to represent 
bis district in the Twenty-second Congress at Washington, 
entering, as it were, the High School of the Nation for a 
thorough course of twelve years. His classmates at first, 
Nathan Appleton, Edward Everett, II. A. S. Dearborn, Rufus 
Choate, John Quincy Adams, John Heed, Joseph Kendall, 
John Davis, Isaac C. Bates and George Grennell, Jr., all from 
bis own State, and in the senatorial seats Daniel AVebster and 
Nathaniel Slisbee. What were his studies all these years? First, 
the United States Bank question for a renewal of Charter for 
which Briggs voted. This same year, 1831, ''The Globe" was 
started in the interest of the President, with F. P. Blair as 
Editor and to it are we indebted for all important Congres- 
sional Records since. Next he examined "the protective sys- 
tem ;" then "internal improvements by the government ;" next 
the "division of the public lands and the money from the lands 
themselves ;" the "Colonization society;'' "extension of the 
pension list ;" "Georgia and the Cherokes ;" "Georgia and the 
Supreme Court;" "imprisonment of missionaries;" and all as 
Briggs said, with reference to the Presidential canvass. From 

Gov. George N. Briggs. 173 

December to July the contest raged fiercely "till tlie last hour 
of the last day of the exhausted session. Briggs' first reported 
speech was made January 19, 1832, on the Appointment Bill. 
He favored the bill in a long speech closing with these 
words: — "If the day shall ever come, and come it may, when 
corruption and ambition shall assail the government or the 
liberty of the country in a measure strange to its other branches 
and departments, the people will look up to this House as the 
last citadel of their hopes. If such a crisis shall come, the 
strength of those who may then compose this body will not 
only be rendered formidable by their members, but the con- 
sideration that they come directly from the bosom of the peo- 
ple, seasoned by their sympathies and sustained by their 
opinions, will give them an ardor and an energy to resist the 
encroachment of power which more strangers can never feel. 
I know, Sir, that this state of things is very remote. It may 
never happen, but the history of man and the fate of Nations 
admonish us not to close our eyes, even to the possibility of 
its occurrence." This was a delicate hint of a possible 
Slavery trouble. Next month he spoke again on the same sub- 
ject, denying the justice of the charge that the Eastern states 
were crying "give, give ;" they were demanding no more than 
their rights. In March, he spoke on the charge of official cor- 
ruption as affecting the whole community. If true, the offender 
should be punished ; if false, his innocence should be establish- 
ed. In April, he spoke quite at length on the American Coloni- 
zation society as an effectual means of ultimately suppressing 
the African slave trade. He finished his speech by saying : — "If 
the fair fabric of our social institutions was never to be shaken 
till the people of the Northern States over leaped the bounds 
of the Constitution to meddle with the property of their 
Southern brethren, these institutions would stand till time 
had crumbled the solid columns that surrounded this Hall and 
laid them prostrate in the dust." 

On July loth, he spoke on a joint resolution, recommending 
through the president, a day of public humiliation with fasting 
and prayer, that God would avert the Asiatic scourge which 


Berkshire Historical /Society. 

had readied our borders. It was a tbenie adapted to Mr. 
Briggs's whole make up. "It was a season when the minds of 
all men were called upon to reflect on the serious state of the 
country, under an approaching, if not an existing desolation 
which bad laid waste the people of three fourths of the globe— 
a plague whose calamitous ravages had, within the last fifteen 
years, destroyed the lives of more than fifty millions of the hu- 
man race. Every passing breeze brought intelligence of the 
still nearer approach of this desolating calamity. From town 
to town, and from city to city, the dread of it came stealthily 
on, causing men, even good men, to turn pale, had entered our 
great commercial emporium and commenced its work of deso- 
lation ameng the thousands there assembled." 

Five days of speech-making before the bill passed, and the 
President appointed Aug. 2 as the national fast day. (This was 
written in 1893 when we were threatened with a like cholera 
scourge. In the place of a Fast Day the states are passing reso- 
lutions of a sanitary nature; and in this State the Legislature 
is trying to vote Fast Day out of its calendar.) 

The briefest analysis of the resolutions presented, and the 
no small part he took in presenting his opinions and arguments 
in that twelve years "war of words" cannot here be presented; 
they arc ready for use when needed. At the close of the 
twenty-seventh Congress, he returned to Berkshire, seeking 
rest in change of service. The Commonwealth had watched 
his trustworthy course in Congress whence he had graduated 
with honor. Educated thus at the expense of the State, the 
Commonwealth", like Plato's Republic, claimed that his duty 
was to sit in the gubernatorial chair and guide the ship of state. 
His first selection of a home in Boston in 1 84-1, gave occasion 
to the press to say: "If the Governor discourses as much love 
of quiet and order and as high regard for temperance, religion 
and the social virtues in his official acts as he has done in the 
choice of a home in Boston, the public may well confide in the 
wisdom of his measures, His deportment also at the hotel 
answers to the descriptions we have so often heard of him. He 
is easy and affable in his manners, takes his meals at the pub- 

Gov. George iV. Briggs. 175 

lie tables, is present at the altar of worship morning and even- 
ing in the public parlors, and does not affect to be anything 
more than an honest man and a Christian citizen." The key 
note of his first message may be found in his own words, 
"There should be no more offices in the State than the public 
good demands, suitable and wise persons should be appointed 
to fill them, and their duties ought to be clearly defined by 
law. The pay attached to all offices should be such as to se- 
cure competent men to fill them with ability and honor. He 
who, at their request, serves the public faithfully, has a right 
to a just compensation for his services. When appointed to 
the post, the officer should be held to a personal discharge of 
his trust. If the pay is too large, selfishness, stimulated by the 
lust of gain will ardently sieze upon the place, to the exclusion 
of honesty, ability, and fidelity. If it is too small, meritorious 
indigence will be shut out of public employment, and the 
wealthy onlj r will find places of trust; or the reckless and un- 
principled will gain them with the hope of making up the de- 
ficiency of pay by plundering the public." The advice given 
by a governor who had only a salary of $2,500 if good then, is 
good now. A noteworthy event of that year was the Berk- 
shire Jubilee in Pittsfield in August, at which Gov. Briggs 
was the presiding officer, and whose address, as well as fitness 
to preside, made him more then ever before, the delight of 
Berkshire. That address with its historic lore, is all preserved 
and ready for reading or reference, in the safe keeping of the 
Athenaeum, or the Berkshire Historical Society. 

The Governor's annual message in 18-15 introduced and dis- 
cussed at length three main topics : — The admission of Texas, 
unwise as he thought, because it was wholy a pro-slavery move- 
ment and an effort to gain more complete control of the gov- 
ernment ; 2nd, The treatment and moral improvement of 
criminals in jails and prisons ; and the third point much en- 
larged, was for improvement in the schools of the state. Ten 
thousand children between 4 and 16 were not in school. What 
legislation can be indifferent to it ? Ignorant and untaught 
children will grow up ignorant and vicious. Public peace and 

17G Berkshire Historical Society. 

public morals and public prosperty will suffer by them, and 
they will be a living reproach to the State. Hy this message 
and discussions thereon, a new impetus was given to Normal 
schools and Teachers' Institutes held throughout the State. 
The first one of the institutes was held in Pittsfield in Octo- 
ber of the same year, at which a hundred young men and 
women, actual and prospective teachers were present for ten 
days, to receive instruction in methods of teaching, through 
lessons and lectures by experienced instructors, the Governor 
himself present at nearly every session. In a letter by him a 
month later he wrote, "I am confident these meetings of teach- 
ers in different parts of the State the present Autumn will be 
regarded as an important era in the history of our common 
schools." To the writer of this paper, it was a memorable 
if not important era. One evening the Hon. Horace Mann, 
whose picture hangs close to me while I write, lectured on 
astronomy. In the course of that address, he spoke of the ap- 
parent movement of the sun as going westward till it reached 
its highest point, then stopping for a moment, began its return 
southward, as he said, like an apple thrown up into the air : 
there is a moment in its retarded ascent when it pauses and 
then begins its descent. After many complimentary remarks 
at the close of the address, by the wise men on the platform, 
Mr. Mann inquired if there was any one in the class of teachers 
who would like to say a word or ask a question. As no one 
responded, your writer ventured to rise and make his first ex- 
temporary effort in public. lie acknowledged his Ignorance 
of astronomy, having never attended school where it was 
taught. He had learned much during the last hour, enough, 
perhaps, to justify him in a critical question. The speaker had 
compared the movement of the sun northward and returning 
to an apple thrown upward, stopping for a moment in mid-air 
and then descending. Would not the illustration have been 
more accurate, if the comparison had been to an apple thrown 
over a house since there is a moment when it ceased to go 
higher, though it does not cease going \ There was not a long 
pause before Dr. Oliver Root arose and said, "That young 

Gov. George N. Briggs. 177 

man is out of his place in venturing to criticize one of the best 
educated scholars of the nation, the worthy secretary of the 
Board of Education of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts," 
and, with a look of pity at the young man added, "I hope lie 
will he wiser when he is older." No sooner was lie gracefully 
seated, than Gov. Briggs stood erect and said, "I am not sure 
but the young man is right," and approved his effort to speak 
and his way of putting it. Next the lecturer himself came to 
the rescue and said the illustration was better than his own and 
ventured a prediction, "That young man will make a good 
teacher because he is apt in illustration. Next morning in an 
early walk, the young man met Gov. Briggs who inquired his 
name and plans and advised him to fit for and go through col- 
lege. Poverty should be no hindrance. That was their first 
meeting. Nine years later grown "wiser" as well as older he 
was the principal of the High school at Pittsfield, with the 
brilliant daughter of the same Dr. Hoot in the "class in Astron- 
omy." This incident shows the always ready help the Gov- 
ernor had for the poor and the aspiring and industrious. 
Among many instances of his looking to the working class for 
opportunities to do good and give help where needed, take 
this: — "Coming to me as we left church the first Sunday morn- 
ing of Jan. 1851, and knowing: I was about to leave Pittsfield 
for a home in New York he handed me an envelope which I 
placed in my pocket. The next day I left, having in mind a 
place I desired. Peaching it I asked for the head of the es- 
tablishment, and was told that they had no need of such help 
as I could give. I then handed him the letter from the en- 
velope and he read "to whomsoever it may concern &c." Geo. 
N. Briggs. "Who is he V he asked, and I said, "the Govern- 
or of Massachusetts." Handing back the letter, he said, "you 
call at two o'clock !" I called ; a place was found for me as soon 
as I could go to work. That note of Jan. 1, 1851, is now, J 894, 
in a little box in a closet, and I prize it highly. This is from 
Mr. F. E. Bliss of New Haven. 

His message of '46 was largely concerning the tariff, present- 
ed at length and mostly with quotations from Washington, 



Berkshire Historical Society. 

Madison, Jefferson and many others. Another point was on 
limiting the death penalty to two crimes instead of four. The 
pith of his argument is this, "A greater offense should never he 
presented to tile mind of the criminal as a means of avoiding 
detection in the commission of a lesser one," with examples to 
illustrate his argument. Perhaps his ideas of official duty are 
nowhere more clearly expressed than in the closing words of 
this message: "The legitimate object and end of all good gov- 
ernment and right legislation is to give protection to property, 
safety to the person and reputation, to secure to labor a fair re- 
ward, and to elevate and improve the moral, physical and in- 
tellectual condition of men. When legislators lose sight of 
these manifest purposes, for which they are clothed with power 
and allow themselves to be actuated by mere party or partial 
considerations they pervert the trust committed to them, dis- 
grace their true dignity, and do great injustice to those who 
have given them their confidence." 

His message of '17 was largely concerning the Mexican war, 
for which Massachusetts had been called upon to furnish one 
infantry regiment of volunteers. "While he did not approve of 
the war, the regiment was sent, lie said, "Is it not time for 
the people to resolve calmly but firmly that they cannot con- 
sent to further extension of slavery or the admission of any 
more slave states into this Union ?" 

The message of '48 dealt largely with the Mexican war then 
existing between that country and ours, with much of the his- 
tory of the acquisition of slave territory. The message of '49 
speaks of the treaty recently concluded between the United 
States and the Republic of Mexico and the large extent of 
territory ceded to this Country. "It is more than intimated 
that the exclusion of slavery from Texas would endanger the 
Union." His last message in '50, again takes up the question 
as to free or slave territory. Among his last words are these, 
"The people of Massachusetts, come what may, will be faith- 
ful to the Constitution and the Union. Her patriotic states- 
men helped to make that Constitution and her citizens agreed 
to and adopted it. She would not knowingly withhold or 

I » 

Gov. George N. Briggs. 171) 

violate uny right secured by it to any citizen or section of the 
Country." As the honored head of the Commonwealth, lie 

was desired to be present at County Fairs, College Commence- 
ments and Historic Days to give stimulus by his interest and 
wisdom by his words. During his last year as Governor, 
he was called to another duty which in a marked man- 
ner proved his unhesitating fidelity to justice. The mur- 
der of Dr. George Parkman, one of the Faculty of Harvard 
University, by John Webster, the Professor of Chemistry. 
The history of the trial is world wide and forms a volume of 
itself. The Crown Advocate of England said, "the decision of 
the case would advance or retard the cause of justice through- 
out Europe for a century." Proven guilty of murder, then 
began the appeals for mercy made to the Governor. Solicita- 
tions by friends, entreaties by the family of the murderer,pleas 
by counsel, meetings by excited individuals, bribes even by 
base or infatuated men, and even pleading letters from the 
Governor's own family, all begged or demanded a commutation 
of the sentence pronounced by the Judge. In the words of 
another, "He stood firm. The Nation held its breadth with a 
deep applause, suppressed only the awful tragedy and terror, 
yet to be consummmated in the public execution of the crim- 
inal. The public voice of this great continent, and echoes of 
it from the shores of the Old World, at length declared the 
sublimity of his more than Roman — his Christian — firmness in 
withholding his name from altering, by one whit, the sentence 
of the Court against the murderer." The Governor himself 
in a review of the case read in the council chamber, July 19, 
1850, says in closing, "All the circumstances of this most la- 
mentable case force me to the conclusion, that the safety of the 
community, the inviolability of the law and the principles of 
impartial justice, demand the execution of the sentence. In 
1853, John II. Clifford, who had been prosecuting attorney in 
this case, was chosen Governor. What wonder, that with his 
personal knowledge of Ex-Governor Briggs' integrity, he 
should, in the first opportunity, appoint him as Judge of the 
Court of Common Pleas % For nearly six years he was the 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

honored judge. The lion. Julius Rockwell said this of him, 
a llis generous sympathies were never forgotten, even in the 
stern discharge of his official duty, in passing sentence upon 
convicted criminals. lie remembered always, that the most 
hardened criminal might he susceptible to kind Christian sym- 
pathy and advice, and that young offenders might be encour- 
aged to reformation. Many instances are remembered, when 
the Christian judge accompanied the inevitable sentence of the 
law with kind words and advice. J I is manner on these oc- 
casions will long he remembered by those who witnessed them. 
His countenance, the tones of his voice, and his whole manner 
were like those of a father reproving or advising an erring 
child ; and in some instances there is reason to believe those 
unpremeditated and heartfelt addresses had an influence for 
great good upon those to whom they were made." 

A review of his whole life brings into worthy recognition 
two threads one of silver and one of gold, running through his 
whole life as deserving of notice as the scarlet strand that is 
twisted into every piece of cordage in the British navy. The 
silver thread of benevolence as best seen in his life-long tem- 
perance work drew him onward till in 1856 it fastened him 
for life in the chair of the American Temperance Union as 
president succeeding Judge Savage. The other, the golden 
thread, was his consecrated religious nature, visible every where 
in his political and official relations no less than in his church 
and domestic duties. His light could not be hid, and in 1817 
it was placed on a Beacon Hill to give light to all the world, 
as President of the American Baptist Missionary Union. The 
first layman elevated to that exalted position which he was 
re-elected to fill for fifteen years, and in whose chair so to speak 
he died. Of the incidents and addresses of those many meet- 
ings we have not space to make a record ; oidy one may be 
mentioned. It was while he was presiding officer of this Mis- 
sionary Union, that the American Board of Missions, Dr. Mark 
Hopkins president, met in Pittsfield 18-19. I speak of what 
I saw and heard, yet quote the words of Dr. Todd, "And here 
surrounded by many venerable and glorious fathers, and many 

Gov. George N. Briggs. 181 

burning missionaries, lie tools a lively part and made an address 
which will never be forgotten. With inimitable good taste he 
made not the remotest allusion to his civil office or honors, but 
greeted the Board as a sister, an older sister to his own." 
Twelve years later the exciting events of the rebellion and war 
had stirred all thoughtful minds with deepest solicitude. In 
such circumstances the Union of '61 was convened in Brooklyn. 
Narrating an anecdote touching the word of God, he then 
read the ninety-first psalm, with great effect ; and made an 
address of greeting so thoughtful as to appear partly inspired 
from Above ; the very tones of his voice had something of the 
future world ; and many rightly thought they would never see 
his face again, among mortals. This was near June '61. 

In August, when the Allen Guards came back he spoke to 
them in the Baptist church, as reported "he spoke to them of 
patriotism, declaring it to comprehend love of home, and love 
of country, respect and obedience to law, and the fulfillment, 
with a loyal and true heart, of all the duties of the citizen to 
the government and to the country. The opposite of patriot- 
ism is spoken in one .word — treason I and the opposite of the 
patriot is the traitor.'''' These last words expressed with his 
peculiar emphasis of solemnity. September fourth his heart 
was made glad by a recall to public duty to act with Hon. 
Joseph Holt as umpires on the question which had arisen be- 
tween our government and that of New Granada. After 
dinner, in an effort of kindness, he accidently discharged a 
loaded gun into his own face and throat, that face that had a 
smile for every one, and that throat through which had been 
pouring for more than half a century truths that lay hold of 
eternal life. 



Berkshire Historical 

Scientific S 





I8 97 . 

cSv^T^^t^ C^—^yf^ 





Jii the summer oi 1894, I was examining a quantity of old 
books and papers that had accumulated in a doctor's attic, when 
my attention was attracted by a small pamphlet, bearing evi- 
dences of age. A fragment of its original blue paper cover re- 
mained. Its title page read as follows: 

"A Manual of Botany for the Northern States. By the 
members of the Botanical class in Williams College, (Mass.,) 
From a Manuscript system complied by the author of Richard's 
Botanical Dictionary. Albany, Printed by Websters and 
Skinners, 1817." 

As this musty old pamphlet was the starting point of a long 
and careful study into the beginnings of scientific work in 
Berkshire county, I shall ask you to examine it with me with 
some attention, that you may be able to form your own judg- 
ment with regard to the historical accuracy of the references 
deduced from it in this paper. 

On the page next to the title we find this address, inscribed 
to the ''Author of liichard's Botanical Dictionary." "As the 
course of Lectures on Mineralogy, which you have conducted 
so much to the benefit of your class, is nearly completed, we 
are gratified with the prospect of attending your Course of 
Lectures on Botany, — knowing that our improvement in that 
branch of Natural Science would be greatly facilitated by a 
systematic description of vegetables, and being destitute of 
such a system, we render you thanks for the one, which you 
have been pleased, gratuitously, to present to us for publication." 

This address is signed by 03 students, including the entire 
senior and junior classes, all of the sophomore class with one 
exception, and all of the freshmen but three, and so many of 
them became afterward men of prominence, that I transcribe 
the entire list. It is a matter of personal interest that the list 
is headed by my wife's grandfather, Henry Walker Bishop. 

180 $ 

Berkshire Historical Society. 


Leicester Lloyd, 
Thomas Peek, 
Win. A. Porter, 
John B. Skinner, 
Royal W. Smith, 
Win. Wells, Jr., 
John Whiton, 
John C. Brigham, 
Nelson Brown, 
Elijah H. Burrit, 
Samuel Dickinson, 
Alvan Alvonl, 
Chas. Baker, 
Dwight Baldwin, 
Johnson Baldwin, 
Andrew Burnham, 
Benj. F. Clark, 
Gardner Dorrance, 
'20. Jonathan Ely, 
Simon C. Ewers, 
Aimer Forbes, 
Mason Prissell, 
Win. Gildersleeve, 
Edw. Hooker, 
Win. W. Hunt, 
Royal Joy, 
Wm. C. Kittredge, 
John C. Morgan, 
Isaac Oakes, 
Elijah Taylor, 
Alvan Wheeler. 

The preface speaks of the embarrassment in which the student 
in practical botany is "perpetually involved, by the multitude 
of foreign genera contained in the European systems." "Doctor 
Bigelow's .Boston Flora proves the very great relief which is 
afforded to the student by a system of plants limited to his own 
particular district. But there is a middle in this as in other 
things. The northern section of the United States is sulHci- 
ently contracted for this object." 

This seems to indicate that this little manual was the first of 
the kind published in this country. At least Williams College* 
knew of no other at that time, and, as we shall see, this pamphlet 


11. Walker Bishop, 



Dorus L. Clarke, 



Wm. Eastman, 



Luther Hamilton, 



Lyman James, 



Medad Pomeroy, 



Emory C. Washburn, 



Selah It. Arms, 



Daniel D. Barnard, 



Homer Bartlett, 


Chandler Bates, 



Chas. Dillingham, 



Wm. A. Hallock, 



Gerard II. Ilalloek, 


Anson T. Hooker, 



Cyrus M. Lazell, 



Lucas Morgan, 


Joseph P. Mosher, 



Wm. Richards, 



llervey Smith, 


Thos. Spring, 



B. Horace Starkweather, 



Lemuel P. Bates, 



Geo. W. Benedict, 



Daniel J. Betts, 



David L. Coe, 


Joshua N. Dan forth, 



Ebenezer Emmons, 



Joseph II. Estabrook, 



Charles Pitch, 



Parker L. Hall, 



Gardner Hayden, 

Amos Eaton. 187 

was the fore-runner of the latter manuals of Lincoln, Torrey, 
and Gray, who says that "Eaton's Manual was for a long time 
the only general work available for students in this country." 
We are further informed in the preface, that "generic char- 
acters of the phenogamous plants are translated from Persoon. 
Additions and corrections were made, however, on comparing 
the translation with the systems of Liniucus, Pnrsh, Muhlen- 
bnrg, Wildenow, Bigelow, the [tortus Kewensis, the Encylo- 
paidia, and the Synopsis of American Genera. This work' should 
be accompanied by the Botanical Dictionary, published at New 
Haven, which was translated from the French of Professor 

The classification followed by the author is practically that 
of Linmeus, rejecting, however, with Persoon, the Polyadelphia 
and Polygamia. This leaves 22 classes, beginning with "Mon- 
andria," and ending with " Cryptogamia." 

J I ere then is an unknown man at Williams College, in 1817, 
teaching geology and botany by lectures, and with so much 
power as to draw about him not only almost the entire Senior 
class, but also members of the lower classes, lie not only holds 
them ; he fascinates them. lie presents to them a system of 
the Northern States; a Manual of Botany in embryo. This is 
something new for America — at least they believe it is. 

The whole class unite by a voluntary impulse in addressing 
a letter of grateful acknowledgment to their instructor; they 
go further; they beg the privilege of publishing the manu- 
script of his lectures, so that they may have in their hands for 
the first time a printed description of the Flora of Massachu- 
setts and the Northern States. 

The request is granted ; the book is born, and it appears from 
the author's introduction that he has read much, both in English, 
Latin, and French, and that he has translated before this one 
entire book from the French of Professor Richard. 

That he is no mere translator has also appeared. ''Additions 
and corrections" have been made to the works of masters. 
Even the classification of Linmeus has been modified. Who 
is this bold American teacher, who "rejects the Polyadelphia 
and Polygamia," and stirs a class of college students in the 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

Greek and Latin hedgerows of 1817 at Williamstown, to crave 
the privilege of studying vegetables with him and paying for 
the publication of his System. Fortunately he was a man of 
strong personality; an idealist, a man of natural and whole- 
some egotism — not a conceited man, but a man of convictions, 
and sturdy independence; — not afraid tosay*'] ;'' — a man whose 
personality bursts through the strict formularies of a botanical 
text-book. Upon every page he has left some impress of his 
character and his life. 

"Iris gracilis, Boston Iris, Bigelow. This plant is very 
abundant, near New Haven as well as Boston." 

"Lysimachia quadrifolia. Near the outlet of Beaver Pond, 
(New Haven). I found these species in abundance, with 2, 3, 
4, 5, and (I leaves together; though Linnaeus allows but 4." 

"Cistus Canadensis. Late in autumn this plant sends off 
curved ice-crystals from near the root, of a very singular struc- 

"Hepatica triloba, var. Acuta. Perhaps this variety ought 
to constitute a new species. The specimens found by Professor 
Dewey, near Williams College, are much firmer in texture 
than the common kind." 

I note that Gray's botany today recognizes "Acntiloba" as a 
distinct species, and credits it to Decandolle. Decandolle's 
"Systema Naturale" was not published until ISIS, and his 
"Prodromus" not until 1824. 

^Carex ccesjntosa, bog sedge. Fifty-five species of Carex 
have been described in the Northern States. We have inserted 
none but those found most common near Vale College by the 
author, and near Williams College by Professor Dewey." 

"Musei. Perceiving that the work is swelling beyond what 
was intended, nothing more will be given under the live re- 
maining orders than is absolutely necessary for studying the 
genera. Perhaps another edition may appear which will in- 
clude all the known species of plants in the Northern States. 
The manuscript was prepared last summer, under the im- 
mediate inspection of Professor Ives of Vale College." 

These notes indicate trips back and forth between Yale and 
Williams; this fact together with the half-promise of an en- 

Amos Eaton. L89 

larged edition, coupled with our knowledge that one of the 
earliest Manuals of Botany published in America is Eaton's 
Botany, suggested Professor Amos Eaton as their possible 
author. An inspection of the Williams catalogues, however, 
showed that Professor Eaton was never enrolled among the 
Faculty of that institution. I then referred to the oldest copy 
of Eaton's Manual in the Berkshire Athenaeum, and found that 
it was published in 1818, was the " second edition/' and that it 
carries in its preface these words: 

"The first edition of the Manual was published by the 
students of Williams College for their own private use. As 
they struck off about 500 copies the work became considerably 
known. Orders were received by Messrs. Webster and Skin- 
ners in the course of the last season for more than could be 
shipped." The price, by the way. was seventy-five cents. 

This verified the inference. Professor Eaton was the author 
of the pamphlet I had found, and the translator, also, of Rich- 
ard's Botanical Dictionary. This, of course, was well known 
to others, but this was the way the knowledge came to me. 1 
present with this paper the little manual of 1817. 

After diligent search I secured permanent or temporary pos- 
session of nearly all the known works of Professor Eaton, in all 
their various editions, and as they all reveal the man, I seemed 
to be looking at his reflection as it appeared in their faded 
pages after the lapse of from fifty-four to ninety-six years; for 
their publication extended over the years from 1800 to 1842. 

One book or pamphlet, which I have not been able to find, is 
an elementary treatise on Botany, which according to Dr. 
Calvin Durfee was published in 1801. This must have been 
quite diminutive and important, however, for no mention of it 
is made in his Botanical Dictionary of 1817, which is a transla- 
tion from the French of Louis Claude Richard, Professor of 
Botany in the Medical School in Paris, with additions from 
Martyn, Smith, Milne, Wildenow, Acharius, etc. It was 
published at New Haven by Iiezekiah Howe. It is dedicated 
to Eli Ives, M. I)., Professor of Botany and Materia Medica in 
Yale, as follows: 

"Although this dictionary has not received the benefit of anv 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

corrections immediately from your own hand, L have been gov- 
erned by your opinions in all cases of doubt. 

" Your liberal explanations in answer to my numerous in- 
quiries, together with free access to your extensive library, 
have left me almost without excuse for my errors. I beg per- 
mission to place the work under your protection," etc. " New 
Haven, Sept. 16, 1816." 

Two or three of his definitions will illustrate his originality 
even in a translation; "Acine; one of the little globules in a 
raspberry." "acutiuseulus, acutish." 

"Botany enables us, 1, to find out the name of any plant; 2, 
to ascertain its general, medical and economical uses." 

Professor Eaton's method of teaching appears clearly. lie 
insists that the teacher go aiield with the pupils, show them 
the growing plants, tell them their names and the names of 
their several parts ; then test their memory and guide their 
analysis by a dialectic drill like the following exercise on a 
common apple-blossom. Each pupil having a specimen. 

u Teaeher. To what class does it belong. 

Pupil. Icosandria. 

T. Why? 

P. It has 20 or more stamens fixed on the calyx. 

T.. What order? P. Pentagynia. 

T. Why? P. It has 5 styles. 

T. To what genus? P. Pyrus. 

T. Why? It has a 5-cleft superior calyx ; coral 5-petalled ; 
pome 5-celled ; each cell about 2-seeded. 

T. What species is it? P. Mains. 

T. Why? P. The flowers are insessile umbels; leaves 
ovate, serrate." 

He adds. "Though the lecturer's chair is more dignified 
than such schoolmaster-like employment, yet the pupils will 
derive more benefit from a season spent in this way, and in 
collecting and preserving plants, than from half a dozen courses 
of formal lectures." 

This was no mere translation : — neither, 1 think, was the fol- 
lowing suggestion for a botanical garden. "A. few rods of 
ground enclosed, comprising the border of an old garden or rub- 


Amos Eaton. I'M 

bish ground will produce many species of wild native plants. If 
to this be added all the wild roots which shew a little herbage 
in April, as well as the wild shrubs in the neighboring woods, 
a very amusing and instruetive wild botanic garden in minia- 
ture may be had, containing two or three hundred species of 
plants at a very cheap rate." 

Graduates of Williams before ls7<) will remember the 
botanical garden of Professor Albert Hopkins, with its winding 
maze of hedges, its sweet fragrance and wild wood wealth of 
bloom, and its flower-clock near the old seundial. There is rea- 
son to believe that the first idea of this came from Professor 
Eaton, who, as will appear later, first aroused in- Albert Hopkins 
when a boy the interest in nature, which in after years added 
to his fame and to the glory of the college. 

To illustrate Professor Eaton's manner of observation, I give 
part of his directions for writing a complete description of a 
plant: After the usual details of structure, he adds, "tell 
what well-known plant it most resembles. Give an account 
of the soil and situation, whether high or low, wet or dry ; pre- 
cise time of flowering; color of all the parts, close with name 
of town, county, etc.. and state what quantity of same kind of 
plant is to be found there, and what name the common people 
call it by, if any. Take " several specimens so selected as to 
exhibit the plant in all its parts. (Jive only what is essential." 
His directions for pressing and mounting are minute and 
marked by that "common-sense," which constantly appears as 
one of his most striking attributes. Newspapers, smooth inch 
boards, and a heavy stone were sufficient apparatus. 

" If the plant curved naturally, let it curve in the papers ; if 
the flowers drooped in the field or woods let them droop in the 
papers." "Roots, if bulbous, most evergreens and succulent 
plants, except aquatics, should be immersed in boiling water, or 
they will drop their flowers." 

In most localities the " industrious collector should have 400 
by the 1st of July, and about 250 more thereafter," " about 
1000 have been examined in the wild state by Professor Ives 
within live miles of Yale College." 

Kven at that early day the annoyance of synonymy was felt. 

1 ( ,)L> 

Bei'ka/tit'c Historical iSooilty. 

Professor Eaton says, "The rage for changing specific names 
has become a great nuisance to (.lie science. Richard proposes 
a literary tribunal to check the growth of this child of vanity 
and ignorance." 

Mr. Eaton's method of making his dictionary is interesting. 
He resided thirty-four miles from a printer and never saw 
any proof sheets. 

1st. All the terms in Richard's and not in Martyn'a ''Lan- 
guage of Botany," were interlined in the open spaces or inserted 
in the broad margin of Marty n, with their definitions as trans- 

2. All terms and definitions in Smith's "Elements of 
Botany" were compared and additions made from that also. 

o. Likewise from Wildenow's " Principles of Botany." 

4. Milne's " Botanical Dictionary " was then compared with 
the compilation, and additions made from it, 

5. To all this was added the new nomenclature of Lichens 
by Professor Acharius; and the modern terms of ^Y r ildell(>\v, 
Persoon, and others, relating to Cryptogamia, inserted in their 
proper places. 

b. All these materials thus combined were then copied for 
the press with occasional remarks from the hints of able 

Eaton was never afraid of work, and always gave credit 
when credit was due. 

There is a copy of this Dictionary in the library of Williams 
College, "Dono Prof. E. Kellogg.," and a nearly complete col- 
lection of Eaton's works is carefully preserved in the State Li- 
brary at Albany, to whose eminent librarian, Melville Dewey, 
I am indebted for the privilege of examining them. 

These glimpses of Mr. Eaton are enough-, I am sure, to 
awaken your interest in the man and his work, and now, with- 
out burdening you with the tedious details of my search for 
him through his numerous works, through cyclopedias, histories, 
books of travel and science, through old newspapers and pam- 
phlets, and by means of correspondence and personal interviews' 
with men who once knew him, L shall proceed, to set in order 
the results of those investigations which have been as delight- 

Amos Eh i 'on, 193 

fill as they have been sometimes discouraging and laborious. 

A genealogical report of the Eaton's of Dover, England, the 
probable ancestors of Amos Eaton, compiled by Professor 
Daniel Oady Eaton, of Yale, a lew years since, is added to this 
paper in an appendix. 

The first of the family known to have been in America was 
John Eaton, who took the freeman's oath May 25, 1636. J I is 
wife Abigail, aged 35, and two children, Mary, aged 4, and 
Thomas, aged 1, embarked at London in the " Elizabeth and 
Ann," in April 1035. 

Abigail had been the widow of a Dammant (probably Henry 
Daman) for Jane Damant, aged 9, came with her, and in 1840 
joined the Dedham church, being described as "ye daughter 
of our sister Eaton of ye Xh at Watertowne." 

In 1637 John Eaton removed from Watertown to Dedham, 
where lie died Nov. 17, 1058. 

His son John, (b, circ. 1030) lived in Dedham, as has the 
senior line of his descendants to this day. By his wife, Alice, 
lie had 7 sons and 1 daughter. Only four sons lived to ma- 
turity, John, Thomas, William, and Jonathan. 

Of these, Thomas, (b. 1075, m. Lydia Gay, 1097; d. 1748) 
settled in Woodstock, Conn., but about 1722, removed to Ash- 
ford. He was a blacksmith and farmer, and a man of influence. 

Of his 9 children, Natlianael, (b. 1704, m. 1727, Esther, dan. 
of Capt. John Parry; d. 1785) lived in Ashford,' Conn. His 
wife bore him 15 children. The married sons were Nathaniel, 
father of the famous Gen. William Eaton, Calvin, Elijah, (the 
first probably of all the Eatons to goto New York State) John, 
and Abel. 

Captain Abel Eaton, the father of Professor Amos Eaton, 
was born at Woodstock, Conn., 19 Oct. 1754. lie went to 
New Concord, then in Albany Co. N. Y., probably in 1709, 
with his father, and perhaps with two brothers and a sister. 
lie married Azuba llurd, daughter of Amos and Dorcas (Jud- 
son) llurd, who was born in Roxbury, Conn., 23 Nov. 1758. 
Amos llurd had perished of starvation in the wilderness, prob- 
ably near what is now Williamstown, during the old French 
war. The ollicial record is that he "died in the campaign 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

Nov. 29, 1759." His widow married Martin Beebe, afterwards 
Major in the 17th Albany (Jo. Regiment during the revolution, 
and Azuba was brought up by Mr. Beebe as his own daughter. 
When the war broke out a regiment of militia was organized 
in the " King's District," as that part of the old country was 
then called, and both Abel Eaton and his brother John enlisted 
as privates. Abel was soon made a corporal, and later became 
captain of the first company of militia in the town of Chatham, 
lie was a worthy farmer, and a deacon of the Orthodox church. 
His wife was a woman of good sense and of strong religions 
character, and it was mainly through her efforts and at the 
cost of her economies that two of her sons, Amos and Sylvester 
received a collegiate education at Williainstown. Their chil- 
dren, eight sons and two daughters, were horn at Chatham. 
Somewhere in the earliest years of this (19th) century the fam- 
ily removed to Green Co. N. Y., where this worthy couple 
died, the mother Feb. 22, 1811 and the father Oct. 15, 1812. 

Amos Eaton, their eldest son, was born in Chatham, Colum- 
bia Co., N. Y., May 17, 1779. On the 4th of July 1790, when 
but 14: years of age he was selected to deliver a public oration, 
possibly on account of his birth in 177(5. lie acquitted him- 
self with credit. About the same time he carried the chain 
or a local surveyor and determined to learn the art himself. 
Being unable to purchase the necessary instruments, he inter- 
ested a skillful blacksmith in his plan, who agreed to work for 
him at night if he would "blow and strike" during the day. 
After working in this way for several weeks a good working 
chain was constructed, and a well shaped needle. He magne- 
tized the needle by a pair of kitchen tongs which had acquired 
their magnetism by standing perpendicular to the earth's 
current. The bottom of an old pewter plate, well smoothed, 
polished, and graduated made a pretty good case for his com- 
pass, and he was soon in the field with his home-made instru- 
ments doing little jobs of surveying for his neighbors. 

From this time until his death he was never at loss for in- 
struments, which he usually preferred to make from simple 
materials with his own hands, even after he became well able 
to purchase them, ft is stated in Silliman's Journal that in 

Amos Eaton. 195 

1701 he was an "apprenticed blacksmith," but there seems to 
be no foundation for this except the voluntary exchange of 

services mentioned above. Encouraged by his parents, and es- 
pecially aided by his self-denying mother, he fitted for college 
with Rev. Dr. Porter then of Spcncertbwn, N. Y., and was 
graduated at Williams College in 1799 with a high reputation 
for his scientific attainments. 

Previous to this time* only 48 students had been graduated 
at Williams, and in Eaton's class there were only 15 members, 
none of whose names would be remembered today excepting 
perhaps those of Peter Starr, and Egbert Ten Eyck : Indeed 
there were none of the students with whom he was thrown in 
contact there who could have proved mentally congenial to him 
with the exception of Henry Childs of Pittsfield, who was a 
freshman, in 1799, Daniel Tomlinson of Prookfield, who was 
a sophomore; and Gamaliel Smith Olds, also a sophomore, and 
who in 1805, became a Professor of Mathematics and Natural 
Philosophy in Williams College. 

After graduation he began the study of law in Spencertown, 
with lion. Elisha Williams, Sept. 113, 1799, and subsequently 
continued his studies in New York with lion. Josiah Ogden 
Hoffman. But the early bent of his mind toward science 
could not be overcome. Under the influence of this, and aided 
by Dr. David Hosack, and Dr. Samuel L. Mitchell, he became 
more than ever interested in nature, and particularly in practi- 
cal botany and mineralogy. 

Put a few months after graduation, on Oct. 10, 1799, Mr. 
Eaton married Polly, the daughter of Malachi and Mary (Mc- 
Call) Thomas. She was born at Lebanon, Conn., Oct. 1, 1781, 
and died at Chatham, Sept. 12, 1802, leaving one child, 
Thomas Ilurd Eaton, who was born at Chatham, June 11, 
1800. He was a tanner, lived at Stockbridge, Mass., then at 
Reriisen, N. Y., and in various other places, was unfortunate 
in life, and died in Chatham Four Corners, N. Y., June 9, 1861. 

In 1800, Mr. Eaton published his first book, a small bro- 
chure, entitled, "Art without Science." In this, as in most of 
the forty-four or more productions of his pen that followed it, 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

truth was investigated more for the sake of its practical applica- 
tion to production, than for the sake of science as such. 

Practical, immediate results were the aim of his studies and 
of his writings. He sought to make easier and broader the 
life of the farmer, and of the mechanic. The aid lie wished to 
give was to he effective and tangible. This was the underlying 
principle of his whole career, as student, author, and teacher. 

While still in his law office in N. Y.fin 1S02, he borrowed 
Kirwan's Mineralogy, then a scarce hook, and made a manu- 
script copy of the entire work. Nevertheless, although his 
love for Nature was thus constantly tugging at his heart, he 
persevered in his legal course, and was admitted attorney of 
the Supreme Court of the State of New York, at Albany, Oct. 
30, 1802, and soon after established himself as a lawyer and 
land-agent at Catskill, where he remained for several years 
feeding his family by the law, and feeding his soul by the 
study of Nature. 

Sept. 16, 1803, almost precisely a year after the death of his 
first wife, Mr. Eaton married Sally, daughter of Eleazer and 
Tryphena (Beebe) Cady. She was born in Canaan, N. Y., 
Mar. 28, 1780, and died in New Haven, Conn., July 13, 1816. 

She bore five sons to Mr. Eaton, all of whom became distin- 
guished men, with the exception of the youngest, Charles Lin- 
minus, who was born at Chatham, March 19, 1811, and died in 
infancy, in Sept. 1814. 

The first son, Daniel Cady Eaton, was born at Catskill, N. 
Y., dune 17, .1804. He became a dry-goods merchant of excel, 
lent reputation in N. Y. City, amassed a fortune, married his 
cousin, Harriet Eliza Cady, daughter of Hon. Daniel Cady, of 
Johnstown, N. Y. lie travelled extensively with his family in 
Europe, and died in Paris, June 10, 1855. Ills only son, also 
Daniel Cady Eaton, was graduated at Yale in I860, studied law 
and was admitted to the New York bar, but preferring the 
study of art became an excellent critic and historian and was 
well known as a writer and lecturer. 

Amos Eeebe Eaton, Amos Eaton's third son, was born at 
Catskill, May 12, 1806, graduated at West Point, 1820, and 
served his country as an honorable and brave officer in every 


A ii i oh Eaton. 197 

grade from 2nd Lieutenant to Commissary General, which last 
office lie held from lsiU to 1ST I, when ho was retired for age. 
He died suddenly in New Haven, Feb. 21, 1877. His only 
son Daniel Oady Eaton, to whom I am indebted lor these facts, 
became a distinguished Professor of Botany at Yale University. 
He died in 1805. 

Timothy Dwight Eaton, horn in Catskill, Dee. 10, 1807, 
Amos Eaton's fourth son, was educated by his father, graduated 
at Rensselaer School in L82G, appointed Assistant Professor of 
Natural History in the same, and gave promise of a brilliant 
and useful career, when he was cut down by consumption, and 
died in Troy, Nov. 14, 1'828, at the early age of 21. 

Ilezekiah II ulbert Eaton, horn in Catskill, July 21, 1809, was 
graduated at Rensselaer School in 18'2(k In 1S27, he delivered 
several courses of lectures on chemistry, in 1838, lectured he- 
fore the Mechanics Institute in Boston, went the next year to 
Kentucky, and in 1831 was appointed Assistant Professor of 
Chemistry in Transylvania University. He was very soon at- 
tacked by a hemorrhage of the lungs and died in the peace of 
God, and childless, Aug. 10, 18i2. 

In 1810, Amos Eaton formed at Catskill an Institution for 
the practical study of J Jotany, and prepared for the use of his 
pupils a small elementary treatise on that subject. Refering 
to this effort man}' years after he said, "I made then the first 
attempt in this country at a popular course of lectures with a 
view to make practical botanists of young persons of all condi- 
tions and pursuits." Regarding this pioneer work the Eminent 
Dr. David Hasack. wrote to Mr. Eaton, as follows: 

"New York, Aug. 30, 1810. 

Dear Sir: — I am happy to be informed of the progress of 
the Botanical Institution at Catskill under your direction. You 
have set an example that I do not doubt will be followed by 
many or most academies in the State. You have adapted the 
true system of education, and very properly address yourself to 
the senses and to the memory, instead of to the faculties of 
judgment and reason, which are of slow growth. To your 
pupils and their teacher, as first in the field, much praise is 
due. Y r ou have stated to me that it is the intention of the 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

trustees to set apart 2 or 3 acres for the cultivation oi plants, to 
he made a subject of instruction, and to erect a green-house for 
the more valuable exotics. If these be effected, I shall have 
it in my power to supply you with the necessary plants from 
the Botanical Garden here." (The State of New York had 
passed an act for the purchase of a botanical garden from, 
which to furnish plants for a small garden connected with 
every academy in the State.) " I sincerely wish your example 
may be followed. D. Ilosack." 

During- these years Mr. Eaton kept up a correspondence not 
only with Dr. Ilosack, but with Dr. Bigelow of Boston, Dr. 
John Torrey, of N. Y., Mr. Elliot, of S. C. — "a second 
Muhlenberg" — , Professors Mitchell, LeConte, Eddy; Llafines- 
que, and others, both in this country and abroad. He con- 
sidered such correspondence one of the best means of self- 
development. Writing in 1831, of an ollieer at the head of 
one of the Government Departments in Washington, Mr. 
Eaton said, lie was "exposed to exerything calculated to vi- 
tiate his morals and degrade his intellect at a tender age. But 
he read and 'wrote. Reading placed him beyond the reach of 
vice, and extensive epistolary composition gave him the com- 
mand of his contemporaries." 

While Mr. Eaton's love for science was thus steadily grow- 
ing, some unfortunate experiences increased his distaste for the 
legal profession to that degree that he abandoned it altogether; 
and in 1S15, accompanied by his wife, he went to New Haven, 
to avail himself of the assistance of Professors Ives and Silli- 
nian, and the general advantages afforded by Yale College in 
the way of lectures, libraries, and cabinets. The Professors 
also opened to him their private libraries, and constantly aided 
him by personal advice, lie soon became qualified to take the 
field as an explorer, and the desk as a lecturer. While work- 
ing ot Yale College his second wife died, July 13, 1810, and on 
Oct. 20, of the same year he married, in New Haven, Anna, 
daughter of Lewis and Lydia (Woodin) Bradley. She was 
born April 1, 1790, and died in Troy, Dec. 18, 182G. 

Professor Eaton concurred with the Scriptures that it is not 
<>;ood for man to be alone. 

Amos Eaton. 199 

1 1 cj had three children by lii.s third wife. 1. Sara Cady 
Eaton, born at Williamstown, Mass., Aug. 8, 1817. She was 
educated partly by her father, and partly at Mrs. Willard's 
school, was never married, but devoted her life to teaching. 
For many years she was at Monticello Seminary, near Alton, 
III,, and then took charge of the Rochester Female Seminary 
of which she was Principal until 1869, when she removed to 
New Haven, where she died April 11, L8S1. 

2. William Bradley Eaton, horn at Troy, N. Y., Nov. 11, 
LS19, died at Troy, May 29, 1834. lie studied with his 
father, and had made exceptionally line progress. On the day 
of his death, his father wrote, "this is my third thoroughly 
educated son, and my last hope. Death lias taken Dwight in 
1828, and Ilezekiah in 1832." 

3. Cuvier Eaton, born at Troy, Jan. 11, 1822, was a 
wanderer. For many years a sailor, he was ''somewhere" in 
the Paciiie. lie returned to his friends about 1852, was for 
some years a watchman in a branch of the U. S. Revenue 
Dept, in N. Y., and died about 1S70. 

During the years 1815-16 which Mr. Eaton spent in New 
Haven, besides the studies already referred to, and amid the 
agitations of mind incident to the deatli of his youngest son, the 
loss ol one wife, and the marriage of another, he prepared and 
published the Botanical Dictionary before described, wrote 
the major part of the Manual of Botany, personally explored 
the llora surrounding New Haven, began the construction of 
his herbarium, (two pages of which I present with this paper 
through the kindness of the widow of his grandson, David 
Oady Eaton, late of New Haven, ) and maintained an extensive 
scientific correspondence. 

Professor Benjamin Sillimau wrote of him years afterward, 
" Professor Eaton passed a winter here in preparation to be- 
come a lecturer, and he became a distinguished teacher." lie 
was even then regarded in some sort as an authority, for he had 
the honor ol naming the Twinberry, or Mountain Fly Honey- 
suckle, Xyiosteum Solans, Eaton, discovered by Dr. Solon Smith 
in New Hampshire, in IS 15. This plant is now given by Gray 
as [.oniccra oaerulea. Gray says it has also been named 


Berkshire • Historical Society. 

Xylostewm villosum, by Michaux; but regarding Miehaux's 
claim Professor Eaton says in the Sth edition of bis botany, 

Albany, 1833, "This plant was discovered in New Hampshire, 
by l)v. Solon Smith, of New Haven, Conn., in the year LS15. 
I published it in 1817. Professor Dewey found it near Wil- 
liams College the same year. I found it in Pittslield, Mass., 
three years afterwards. It has since been published under the 
name villosum by several botanists; but 1 know not on what 
authority. No (me pretends to have seen Miehaux's plant, and 
his discription oi the villosum, if intended for this plant, is de- 
fective without a parallel in his work. As well might a 
botanist claim all future discoveries in the i»-enus Acer, if he 
bad once said that the maple tree had a woody stem. It may 
have been seen by Michaux; but surely it will be in season to 
deny Dr. Smith's discovery, and my name, after we receive 
some evidence of it." 

That Eaton's " Xylosteum Solonis" is now described by 
Gray under the name Lonicera cwmdea has been kindly ex- 
plained for me by Mr. Walter Deane, of Cambridge, as follows : 
u h\ 1753 Linnaeus described a European plant as Lonicera 
cmrulea, pedunculis billoris, baccis eoadunato-globosis stylis 

"In 1803, Michaux described a plant as 'Xylosteum (Lonicera) 
villosum, — Habitat, Canada.' 

"In 1817, Eaton described the plant brought to him in 1815 
by Solon Smith as Xylosteum Solonis. He says Hooker con- 
sidered it the same as Lonicera cwruleci, of Europe, but he, 
Eaton, did not. Eaton also considered his plant very different 
from Xylosteum villosum, Michaux. This was natural, for 
nobody in America had seen Miehaux's plant, and the descrip- 
tion of it did not suit Eaton's plant. 

"In 1811, Pursh, in quoting Mx's X. Villosum, evidently 
makes a mistake, for he says "baccis distinctis" for " baccis 
GCBruleis" of Mx's description. Pursh had never seen the plant 
and wondered what it was. Eaton quotes Pursh's statement 
but questions it. 

"Now, in 1838, Dr. Gray went to Europe, and in 1831) visited 
Miehaux's Xylosteum villosum. The result of his study and 

Amos Jiaton. 20 1 

of further investigation in regard to Eaton's Xylonteum Solonis 
and the Lonicera ewrulea Linnaeus, of Europe, was as follows: 
He considered Eaton's plant identical with the Lonicera 
lea of Europe, and Michaux's Xylosteum villosum as merely a 

very villous form of the same species. So, in 1841 in the 2nd 
volume of Torrey and Gray's Flora, p. 9. we read Lonicera cce- 
rulea, L. (Xylosteum Solonis, Eaton,) Var. oillosa, (Xylos- 
teurn villosum, Mx.) 

"Later, in the Synoptical Flora, 1884, Gray reduces the var. 
villosa of Torrey and Gray to the type Lonicera C(jerulea, con- 
sidering it merely a villous form not worthy of the varietal dis- 
tinction, and re-draws the character of the species so as to in- 
clude this villous form. 

"1 do not consider in this case anything in the slightest de- 
cree derogatory to Eaton. It was very natural for him to re- 
sent the use of Michaux's name "X Villosum" for his plant, 
before Dr. Gray's visit to Michaux's herbarium. 

"It was also the most natural thing in Dr. Gray, after all his 
investigations, to act as he did." 

I have gone into these technical details because this case is 
typical of a large number of instances in which Mr. Eaton's 
names of plants have been set aside by other botanists, and this 
has been supposed by some to be a reflection upon Eaton's scien- 
tific accuracy. It is not so at all, and I consider that the result 
of this investigation of the history of this one name not only 
adds to our estimate of Eaton's ability, but also to our respect 
for the conscientious, and patient study quietly bestowed by 
Dr. Gray upon these minute details in the nomenclature of his 

The class of work done in those early days is shown by 
Professor Eaton's statement that nearly one thousand species of 
plants arc collected within a radius of ten miles of Yale 

" He now turned toward his own Alma Mater," says Dr. Cal- 
vin Durfee, in his History of Williams College, "with whose 
honorable indorsement, as a competent teacher, he desired to 
go forth into the world, lie therefore came to Williamstown 
in March, 1817, and was cordially received by the Faculty, 


Berlcsh ire JUslm "leal Soc ie t y . 

especially by Professor Dewey, and gave courses of lectures on 
Botany, Mineralogy, and Geology, to volunteer classes of tlie 
students. His influence in the college was renin rkablo. lie 
awakened a lively interest in the natural sciences which has 
never died out. With few hooks adapted to his department, 
lie accomplished wonders. The graduates of that day who were 
among his pupils always speak of him in terms of the most 
affectionate interest and gratitude. They published in 1817, 
the first edition of his Manna! of Botany, a 12mo. of 164 
pages, which 'gave (as the late Dr. Lewis I). Beck wrote in 
1852) an impulse to the study of Botany in New England and 
New York, as the only descriptive work which was then cur- 
rent was that of Pursh, an expensive one, with Latin descrip- 
tions.' This work, improved by repeated revisions and ad- 
ditions, became, in the eighth edition, published in lS-i(),a large 
octavo volume of 025 pages, entitled 'North American Botany,' 
and contained a description of 5,2(57 species of plants. In this 
edition Mr. Eaton was assisted by the late Dr. John Wright. 
Mr. Eaton always aimed to render scientific principles and 
facts useful; still he loved science, though it brought no 
pecuniary gain. To him knowledge was in itself a good ; which 
idea he carried through all the editions of his Manual from the 
lifth, by introducing as a motto the following sentence of 
Linmeus, 'That existence is surely contemptible which regards 
only the gratification of instinctive wants, and the preservation 
of a body made to perish.' 

The patronage and encouragement which Mr. Eaton received 
at this time from the Faculty and students of Williams Col- 
lege strengthened bis determination to give courses of popular 
lectures, accompanied with practical instructions, to such classes 
as he might be able to organize in several of the larger towns 
of New England and New York. The aid he thus received he 
gratefully acknowledged in 1818 by inscribing the second 
edition of his Manual of Botany to the President and Profes- 
sors, saying to them, 'The Science of Botany is indebted to you 
for its first introduction into the interior of the Northern 
States, and I am indebted to you for a passport into the scien- 
tific world.' To Professor Dewey he was warmly attached, 


Amos Eaton. 203 

and throngli life regarded him as a successful fellow-laborer ; 
and his friendship and co-operation were warmly reciprocated." 
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Professor Eaton 
was his power of awakening the interest and enthusiasm of 
others. To use the striking language of President "Merrill 
Gates, he knew how to " ring; the rising bell in the dormitory 
of the soul." It was he who started Professor Albert Hopkins, 
then a boy of ten, on that career of scientific study which has 
made Williams College famous as the source of so many " first 
things;" notably the first astronomical observatory connected 
with any American college. Professor Hopkins wrote to Dr. 
Durfee in his later years, " Professor Eaton was one of the 
first to popularize science in the Northern States. For this 
task lie had some special qualifications. He had an easy How 
of language, a popular address, and a generous enthusiasm in 
matters of science, which easily communicated itself to his 
pupils. I well remember attending a lecture of his in my 
native town, the first scientific lecture I ever attended, and, if 
I may judge by the sharp outline of it still in my mind, one of 
the most interesting and impressive. Perhaps the 'leafy month 
of June,' the subject of the lecture, ' Flowers,' and the presence 
of a large number of interesting young persons, may have 
added something to the charm ; but making all due allowances, 
J am sure that the lecture itself must have had a good deal of 
intrinsic merit. Prof essor Eaton was at this time (IS 17, 1 think) 
nearly in his prime. His person was quite striking, — a large 
frame, somewhat portly and dignified, though entirely free from 
what is commonly called starch. His face was highly intellec- 
tual, — the forehead high and somewhat retreating, locality 
strongly marked, and the organs of observation and comparison 
well developed. His hair at that time was black, and being 
combed back, rendered his fine physiognomy still more striking. 
I well recollect the flowers, which I believe his young pupil, 
Emmons, had been employed to collect for the occasion. They 
were, in the first place, the common lilac, which I had probably 
seen before; however this may be, the small floret, with its 
salver-form Corolla and long tubular throat, into which the 
Professor dexterously inserted his pen-knife, with no murder- 


Berksh ii i e lihloi "icul Soc iety. 

oiis intent, but to give us a view of the organs which the great 
Linna3us luid selected as the basis of his classification, — this lit- 
tle lloret, I say, is the first I now recollect to have seen ; and 
seen it was, and still is, with great distinctness. Then followed 
the PedioulariSj and some plants more difficult in their analy- 
sis. In the analysis of these plants Professor Eaton made use 
of his Manual descriptive of plants in the vicinity of Williams 
College, a hook which, with some imperfections, was highly 
valuable as a pioneer work. Professor Eaton was among the 
first in this country to study nature in the field with his classes. 
1 think his zeal in the department of Botany led Professor 
Dewey to direct his discriminating mind to the study of plants. 
At this time Dr. Emmons took the held. In fact Natural His- 
tory came in on a spring-tide and bus never lost the impulse 

Professor Hopkins gave to my father, lie v. Addison Ballard, 
an amusing account, in illustration of Professor Eaton's en- 
thusiasm, of his wading Waist-deep into a swamp at Pownal 
Vt., finding a new plant there, and waving the specimen ex. 
citedly over his head as if he had lighted unexpectedly on a 
priceless treasure. 

Dr. Durfee, although pre-eminently an antiquarian, with a 
strong theological bias, was always sweetened by a love for 
nature. Nothing afforded him greater pleasure when I knew 
him than to pilot a, group of strangers through the natural 
history museum in old Goodrich and Jackson Halls, and 
through the botanical garden which flanked it. 

This curious interest, so apart from his natural instincts, he 
owed to Professor Eaton, and it dated from the spring of 1819, 
when in Lenox Academy, at the age of twenty-one, he listened 
to Mr. Eaton, who had gone there at the request of Hon. 
Henry W. Bishop, one of his pupils in 1S17, to deliver a short 
course of lessons on Botany. Mr. Durfee never forgot Eaton's 
"manly appearance, his constantly flowing conversation, and 
his instructive lectures." 

Professor Hopkins' belief that Professor Eaton had a con- 
trolling influence over the mind of Dr. Emmons is abundantly 
verilied. Attending Eaton's lectures when a boy of eighteen, 

Amos Eaton. 205 

after his graduation at Williams College lie followed his teacher 
to Troy, N. Y., and enrolled himself under him again in the 

Uenssalaer Institute, where he was graduated in 1820, and 
whither after lecturing for a time in Williams College and 
founding its mineralogieal and geologieal museum, he returned 
to accept the position of Junior Professor under Eaton in 1830, 
a position which he held until L840, receiving the constant 
benefit of Eaton's counsel and assistance, still retaining how- 
ever his lectureship at Williams. 

Thus it was under Professor Eaton's encouragement that he 
published his first book, Manual of Mineralogy and Geology, 
by Ebenezer Emmons, M. I)., Albany, Ks k 2(>, primarily de- 
signed as a text-book for the students of Rensselaer school, a 
copy of which is herewith presented. He says in his introduc- 
tion: " The author is much indebted to Professors Eaton and 
Beck for the important services they have rendered him in the 
preparation of this work," and further on, kk The following ar- 
rangement of rocks, which is extracted from Professor Eaton's 
work on the Pocks of the Canal District, will be adopted in 
this manual as it comprises the best system of North American 
Geology which has been published." As a matter of fact 
throughout this little volume, the voice is the voice of Em- 
mons, but the hand is the hand of Eaton. 

I regret that in his later works, Dr. Emmons not only failed 
to recognize his great debt to Professor Eaton, but. even al- 
lowed himself to criticise his old teacher in language which is 
lacking in courtesy, even if had a basis of truth, which is by no 
means certain. I cannot here go into the geological questions 
involved, but on Professor Eaton's general scientific standing, 
I am glad to present this word from Professor T. Nelson Dale, 
of Williams College, who is an authority. U I have examined 
his work suflicieutly to state that he was the first to distinguish 
secondary foliation from bedding foliation in the rocks of the 
Taconic range, and that this distinction was neglected by all 
geologists who subsequently studied this region, even by Pro- 
fessor Dana himself. The importance of this observation of 
Eaton's is shown by the fact that in the recent work of the 
United States Geological Survey in this region it was found 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

that this distinction between primary and superinduced struc- 
ture was the key to the structural geology of cue entire Taconic 
region. Had Katun's observations in this matter been care- 
fully followed up, much of the confusion of the 'Taconic Sys- 
tem' would have been avoided. In forming an estimate of 
the geological work done here three-fourths of a century ago— 
during the infancy of geological science — the wonder is, not 
that it was so imperfect, 1 > n t that, with so meagre resources, 
without good maps, and without microscopic methods, so 
much was accomplished by the pioneers of American geology." 

A few facts will illustrate Professor Eaton's indefatigable 
industry in the field, and his remarkable frankness in giving 
credit to others, even for what he might well have claimed for 
himself, namely discoveries made by his pupils while exploring 
the country under his personal guidance. He first described 
in his manual of ISIS, a beautiful new Honey-suckle, the 
"Rough Woodbine," as follows: "Loniciva Hirsuta: — Eaton ; 
A new species found by Emory Washburn, (afterward Gover- 
nor of Massachusetts) member of the botanical class at Williams 
College in the summer of IS 17, two miles west of the college, 
where it twines around trees from lett to right to the height of 
twenty or thirty feet. I have been informed that Le Oonte 
gathered it in New York before Mr. Washburn found it in 
Williamstown. Goldie came to Massachusetts and travelled in 
Canada, found it, and examined it with my manual, and after- 
ward published it as a new discovery, under the name pubcsce?is i 
in the Edin. Phil. Jour." 

I note with pleasure that neither Le Conte's claim nor that 
of Goldie has been established, and the plant is still published 
in Cray, as "Lonicira hirsuta, Eaton." 

"Lycoj/us uniflorus, found by W. A. [lalloek, three miles 
north of Williams College; hitherto confined to Canada." 

^Lycopodium ])dl»iatu?n, Climbing Fern, found in Granby 
by Mr. Eastman." Both W. A. Hallock and William East- 
man were members of Professor Eaton's class. 

"Orchis dilitata, in great abundance on the north side of 
the Iloosack, near Williams College; in the mountains along 
White Oak creek the llowers are green, in open meadows, white." 


A moa Eaton. 207 

"Potomogeton graminenm^ Grass Pondwced; near Williams 
College. Grows wholly immersed in stagnant water. In July 
some plants raise spikes of unopened flower-buds to the .sur- 
face. As soon as the stigmas are fertilized, the spikes are 
again withdrawn to ripen their fruit under water. Other in- 
dividuals succeed for several weeks." I imagine that this may 
he the plant which Professor Hopkins saw Mr. Eaton find and 
"wave excitedly over his head" while waist deep in the pond. 

"Sorbus Americana, Mountain Abh; Saddle Mountain, par- 
ticularly about two thousand feet above the level of the Col- 

"Tillcea ascendens, Pigmy Weed, very minute, a new species, 
discovered by Professor Ives, on the llousatonic, in the sum- 
mer of 1810." 

" Gaultheria hispidula, Margin of pond six miles north of 

"Clematis He.cagona, A new species which I found two 
miles west of Williams College." 

" Anthemis nohilis, Pittsfield, 1820." 

"Cochlearia aquatica, Pittsfield." Among plants named 
by Eaton, I note " Sarracenia hcterojrfiylla, Northampton, a 
remarkably distinct species, but very rare." This is called a 
"variety" by Gray, hut is still credited to Eaton. 

"Acacia Cooleyi" ; " lihynchospora teres"; u Ifonarda 
BeckiV' '; " Iledysarum Aikini"; "Torreya ornata" and 
"Torreya nuda" 

These last two afford a proof that Mr. Eaton fought as stout- 
ly for his own rights as he generally yielded to the just claims 
of others. It appears that after Mr. Eaton had named these 
"Torreyas," Mr. Nuttall published them as u Bartonias." Mr. 
Eaton remarks, "Another plant, — Bartonia paniculata, or 
Screw-pine — has been too long known by this name, Bartonia, 
to admit of a change. Several plants of doubtful character 
have been named in honor of Dr. Torrey ; but 1 believe all 
American botanists will consent to give his name to a definite 
genus. I received Mr. NuttalTs assent to this name at his gar- 
den in Cambridge, Mass. As 1 am the oldest teacher of popu- 
lar botany in North America, and as I taught our modern Lin- 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

minis the very name of calyx, corol, and stamen, at the early 
age of fourteen, Mr. Nuttall was willing t<> permit me fco give 
this name to a plant of his discovery. Dr. Torrey was not 
consulted, hut about twenty of our best American botanists 
were consulted." Nevertheless, other botanists preferred to 
give Mr. Torrcy's name to the Screw-pine, displacing the name 
Bavtonia, and giving that name to the plant which Mr. Eaton 
had named Torreya ; and in a later edition of his botany, Mr. 
Eaton persists in calling the Screw-pine, Bartonia, Baying: kt I 
follow Muhlenberg still in the name of this elegant little plant, 
because it is his discovery and his name. No convention 
among botanists is of sufficient authority to change an estab- 
lished name. This plant is common where Barton and Muhlen- 
berg earned their fame, and it is not to the advantage of either 
to drive (it) to the genus Sagina, Centaurella, or Torreya. Mr. 
Nuttall consented in May, 1820, on account of Bartonia paui- 
culata being immovably established. I shall make no changes 
at present." 

In this intention Mr. Eaton persisted, I believe, until his death. 
I observe that Gra} 7 , setting aside both names, Torreya and 
Bartonia, gives these yellow and white flowers, that open in 
the sunshine of the western plains, the name JSlentzelia. The 
reasons for this change are doubtless as creditable to both 
Eaton and Gray, as were those already cited in the case of 
Eaton's Xylostium Solonis, but the incident illustrates several 
points in Eaton's character. 

While at Williamstown, he lectured not only on botany but 
also and primarily on mineralogy; and, in LSlS, he pub- 
lished his "Index to the Geology of the Northern States," a 
little scventy-fivj cent volume, well matching the first edition 
of his botany. He was already a member of the Lyceum of 
Natural History of New York. This hook is described in N. 
A. Rev. vol. 0, page 410, as a pamphlet of fifty or sixty pages, 
"the results of a series of practical and laborious researches by 
one who has travelled more than one thousand miles on foot in 
collecting the facts." 

Encouraged by his wonderful success in Williamstown, 
Eaton now became an apostle of natural science, lie has been 

Amos Eaton. 209 

called "an itinerant lecturer." Me was infinitely more. His 
mission was not to amuse or even to instruct, it was to arouse. 
Wherever lie went he started fires of enthusiasm in the souls 
of men and women ; fires that have never been extinguished; 
fires that, mounting ever higher, are to-day lighting a wider 
sky than ever before. He went first to Northampton, where 
he was the first man in America to enroll women in the study 
of science. A paper dated November 24, 1817, and signed by 
Gov. Caleb Strong, Solomon Williams, I). I)., Ebenezer Hunt, 
M. J)., Josiah Dwight, County Clerk, Hon. Elijah II. Mills, 
and David Hunt, M. D., says: "Mr. Amos Eaton was em- 
ployed in this town to deliver a course of evening lectures on 
Botany, and a course of evening lectures Chemistry, Miner- 
alogy, and Geology. As his class consisted chiefly of ladies, 
and as these branches of learning have not hitherto generally 
engaged the attention of that sex, we take the liberty to state 
that from this experiment we feel authorized to recommend 
these branches as a very useful part of female education." 

It was at or near this time that Mary Lyon received from 
Professor Eaton an impulse which is still throbbing in the 
arteritis of Mt. Ilolyoke Seminary. In the history of that 
school it is recorded of her that she "specially delighted " in 
lectures by Professor Eaton in chemistry in Amherst and in 
Troy, N. Y." That this was no casual and transient interest 
is shown from the fact, that having heard Eaton in Ambers*, 
she followed him to Troy, and maintained her familiar inter- 
course with him for years; for on April 1, 1825, she wrote to 
Miss Grant from Troy : " I wrote to Professor Eaton, stating 
my general success and difficulties in experiments in chemistry 
last summer. He returned an answer, generously inviting me 
to his house, and saying that I should do well to come to Troy, 
even if I could stay only two or three weeks, as he could tell 
me many things during that time that would be useful to me. 
Accordingly I packed up all as soon as possible and arrived 
here this morning. I shall attend what lectures are given 
while I am here." She passed her vacation, in fact, in Pro- 
fessor Eaton's family. 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

I do not know how the fame of his lectures in Williams- 
town, Northampton, Amherst, Lenox, and elsewhere, reached 
the knowledge of Governor Clinton of New York, though it 
is hardly strange, as an "army of botanists and geologists" 
was "springing up" in his wake. Certain it is that Clinton 
not only did hear of him, but was so impressed b*y what he 
heard, that lie sent him, in IS IS, a special invitation to give a 
course of lectures before the members of the Legislature of 
the State of New York. .Did an event like that ever occur 
before or since i 

lla accepted the invitation, went to Albany, and gave his 
lectures. Here he became acquainted with the leading men 
of the State, and so interested them, especially in geology, and 
its application to agriculture, that then and there the first steps 
were taken which resulted in the preparation and publication 
of that great work, " The Natural History of the State of New 
York." Several of the gentlemen who assisted in its produc- 
tion were pupils of Eaton, lie lectured in Troy, and projected 
the incorporation of the Troy Lyceum of Natural History, 
which enrolled such members as Drs. Barrett, Robins, and 
Hall, and which for many years "did much service to the 
cause " of science. 

" A year from its commencement," says Hon. Isaac Mc- 
Conihe, " it numbered among its members some of the most 
celebrated men in the United States, and the publications of 
its transactions were circulated from one end of the country to 
the other. This was indeed the first society of the kind in 
America. By this Lyceum, according to Hon. James Forsyth, 
" One of the most extensive collections of American geological 
specimens in the whole country was gathered and arranged." 

Professor Silliman writes of it, " Fostered by the activity, 
zeal, and intelligence of its members, and its lecturer, Mr. 
Eaton, it promises to be a public benefit, and to elevate the 
character of the place." 

1 regret that none of the geological specimens collected by 
Eaton are now preserved, or that if they are, they are no longer 
distinguishable as such. I believe they were destroyed by the 
disastrous lire which ravaged Kenssalaer Institute several years 

A m.os Eaton . 211 

ago, and that with them perished also the interesting philoso- 
phical apparatus constructed 1 > y Eaton's own hands. 

lie afterward delivered several courses of lectures in the 
Medical College of Castleton, Vt., and was appointed professor 
of natural history there in 1820. 

As the cyclopaedias are silent regarding this school, 1 will 
remark parenthetically that it continued to exist until 1861, 
when it was closed on account of the war, which absorbed 
many of its professors. This I learn from a letter written me 
by Mr. A. T. Woodward, son of Dr. Theodore Woodward, who, 
I believe, was president of the college when Mr. Eaton was there. 

\\\ the same year, 1820, was published the second edition of 
his Index to Geology. In this he says, "The drudgery of 
climbing cliifs and descending into lissures and caverns, and 
of traversing most rugged mountainous districts has devolved 
upon me, and I have travelled over two thousand miles on foot 
and one thousand by carriage and by water." Speaking of 
severe criticism on the first edition, he says: " It was prepared 
for my pupils as an index to localities. It contained so many 
errors that I shall not attempt to point them out. I am very 
willing that it should be said, ' As this was the first attempt at 
a general arrangement of geological strata in North America, 
much allowance must be made.' I do not insert any strata of 
European geology, because I cannot find them. I have atten- 
tively examined most of the western towns of Massachusetts 
and a large portion of the eastern, every county in Connecticut, 
the southwestern portion of Vermont, the Catskill region, and 
the counties of Saratoga, Schenectady, Renssalaer, and Al- 
bany." He had already had more than one thousand pupils 
within these limits. 

Professor Silliman in his " Short Tour," speaks repeatedly 
and cordially of Eaton's work, at this period, and praises his 
Index. In the American Journal of Science, vol. 1, p. 130, 
1818, is an account of Eaton's descent eight hundred feet into 
a lead mine at Southampton, Mass. lie took specimens every 
few feet, secured a "boat-load," and sat down fatigued at the 
mouth of the mine to write up his memoranda before anything 
" escapes me." 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

A note of local interest is this : " Prof. Dewey and myself 
found elegant crystals of schorl in a wall near Williams Col- 
lege, and two or three miles west, of the college 1 found large 
quantities of drawing-slate." 

lie says in one place, ,v For every fact given as such, I am 
responsible, unless I may have misjudged the character of a 
mineral or a stratum. To avoid being misled by theory has 
ever been an important consideration. ' Lead me not into 
temptation,' should be the prayer of every honest geologist. 
Theories are so fascinating. There are certain coincidences 
between the Bible and geology, but six days is but a short 
space of time. We are only to believe that the Almighty es- 
tablished laws for governing his work's at the very first, and 
endowed the first created atom with its present properties. 1 
do not pretend that this coincidence is alone sufficient or at all 
necessary to support the authenticity of Divine revelation." 

This Index of Geology is kindly reviewed by J. O. Webster 
in the North American Review for October, 1820, and praised 
by William W. Mather in his Geology of New York. 

In the same year, 1820, Mr. Eaton published his Botanical 
Exercises. lie intentionally made it very small and cheap so 
that parents could buy it for their children. lie refers kindly 
to the Botanical Catechism, written by .Miss Jane K. Welch, 
one of his Northampton pupils, and published in 1819. I 
make a few notes from this hook. " To Teachers of Botany : 
Illustrate by analyzing a plain, simple flower, with which each 
of your auditors should he supplied." " Have your lectures 
and examinations alternate." u Have every pupil make an 
herbarium." "When a new term occurs, stop and explain it." 
" Lectures should he one hour long— always with specimens." 
" A good course! is : — 

1. The first thirteen classes and orders. 

2. The remaining nine orders. 

3. The elementary organs, and subdivision of stamen and 

4. Subdivision of calyx and enrol. 

5. Pericarp. 

G. lie view of classes. 

Amos Eaton. 


7. Review of orders. 

s. Inflorescence. 

i). Roots and stems. 

10. Leaves and appendages. 

11. Review. 

12. Eight analyses of the several orders. 

Give one public free lecture a week on the physiology of 


This is important as it has been repeatedly charged that 
Eaton neglected vegetable physiology. Even so late as March, 
1876, James Ellis Humphrey quotes Professor Eaton's remark 
that every teacher of botany should be aide to name at sight 
at least four hundred species of plants, and calls it kv a perni- 
cious" doctrine; evident!}' supposing that Eaton taught mere- 
ly lists of names and technical analysis, — a most unwarranted 
and untrue assumption. To continue: "Persuade pupils to 
collect wild plants." " See the plant grow." " You can gen- 
erally persuade ladies to go out in small parties to the nearest 
open fields." " You must go with them and teach how to ex- 
amine and collect with care." k ' Preserve green, in ilower-pots, 
material for your lectures." "Dissolve one-half ounce corro- 
sive sublimate in one-half pint alcohol and slightly brush each 

Elsewhere he says: "If you have any respect for yourselves 
or for science, I beg that you will never lend your aid in that 
public imposition - * " x " of pretending to teach practical 
Botany without having each student hold in his hand a system 
of plants, and living specimens for perpetual demonstration" 

His botanical gardens were a living and fragrant proof of 
his" understanding of the value of biological study. He watched 
and taught the development of the plant from the embryo. 

How Eaton contrived to crowd so much work into the years 
is beyond any comprehension, but it is certain that besides all 
the things which I have already set to his credit in 1817 to 20, 
and adding some seventeen courses of lectures of which I have 
no particular information, he accomplished one other task of 
more importance to himself and to science than all the rest. 
Indeed, this year, 1820, marks a turning point in his life. The 


Berkshire- Historical Society. 

first marked period of his life extends from birth, in 1770, to 
graduation, in 1799, — a period of growth and general study. 
The second period extends from 1799 to 1817; characterized 
by a struggle for his daily bread, toil at his legal profession, 
and special preparation for a teacher's career. The third 
period, 1817-24, was one of first fruitage, marked by the out- 
pouring of his mental riches in books, correspondence, and 
lectures ; and also of constant growth through unwearied study. 
The fourth and last period of his life, from 1824 to his death, 
in 18-1-2, was a period of regular teaching, during which, he in- 
iluenced men, inspired them to lives of action, and trained 
them for definite scientific work. His most marked power 
was as a mover of men. The hinge which opened the door 
from the third to the last period of Eaton's life was his intro- 
duction to that great and good man, lion. Stephen Van 
Renssalaer, Patroon of Renssalaerwyek, son of Stephen Van 
Renssalaer and Catherine Livingston, and fifth in direct line of 
descent from Killian Van Renssalaer, projector, proprietor, 
founder, and Patroon of the first land purchased in New York 
for a Dutch Colony, on April 8, 1G30. 

It would he interesting to have the details of the first meet- 
ing between these two men, destined forever afterward to the 
closest and most honorable association, — Stephen Van Renssa- 
laer, high-horn, rich, politically and socially powerful, and 
philosophically pnilanthropic, and Amos Eaton of lowly birth, 
poor, politically and socially unknown, hut equally philosophi- 
cal, and equally philanthropic. It was a strange union, preg- 
nant with incalculable results for good. Put I find no record 
of their first meeting. It was probably by the lectures which 
Eaton delivered before the New York Legislature that he so 
impressed Mr. Van Renssalaer, that thereafter he became the 
Jonathan to this struggling David, and placed at his disposal 
his heart, his influence, and his purse. 

In 1820, Van Renssalaer employed Eaton to make an Agri- 
cultural and Geological survey of Albany County, which was 
published, in the same year, in the "Transactions and Memoirs 
of the Central Board of Agriculture of the State of N. Y." of 
which Van Renssalaer was founder and president, it presents 

Amos Eaton. 215 

a complete view of the geological and agricultural features of 
Albany County, as gathered from accurate and minute surveys, 

and from actual and extensive analyses. "It was believed then 
and is believed now,'- says Hon. Daniel Dewey Barnard, 
Williams, 1818, and a pupil of Mr. Eaton, in bis discourse on 
the life of Van Renssalaer, Albany, 1839, "that this was the 
first attempt made in this country to collect and arrange geo- 
logical facts with a direct view to the improvement of Agricul- 
ture," and be adds "and has rendered a higher service to his 
country than if be had been the man to win twenty bard- 
fought battles for her in a just and necessary war." 

Professor Silliman says in his Journal, ,v The attempt is novel 
in this country." in the Annals of Albany, vol. 3, pp. 235-7, 
is tin extended account of this and subsequent surveys by 
Eaton, and this comment, "Attention was strongly attracted in 
this country and Europe to the very creditable and faithful 
labors of Professor Eaton under the direction of bis munificent 
patron, and this example it was which has led at last to the 
adoption in several of the States of plans for exploring this 
territory at public expense." 

Prof. Ezra Brainard, in the Marble Border of Western New 
England, Middlobury, Vt., 1885, writes, "The pioneer explorer 
in American Geology was Professor Amos Eaton. He — and 
science — bad the good fortune to find a munificent patron who 
sustained him for 11) years, enabled him to travel more than 
17,000 miles in explorations, and published his reports and 
maps. * * * Geology became the rage. It was talked on 
every steamboat and canal packet, and at every public water- 
ing-place. Perhaps the fact Eaton had more than 7000 pupils 
or auditors bad something to do with it. At any rate at bis 
death in 1S42, every state in the union except five had author- 
ized geological surveys." 

What intluence all this bad upon the inauguration of the 
United States Geological Surveys, 1 leave to your imagination. 
William II. Seward, in bis Introduction to the Natural History 
of New York, Albany, 1842, says, "This publication marked 
an era in the progress of Geology in this country, lie described 
rocks which no geologist had at that time attempted to classify 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

We are indebted to Eaton for that independence of European 
classification which has been found indispensable in describing 

the New York system." 

In view of all that precedes we are surprised bv a remark of 
Professor flames I). Dana, Taconic Rocks, Am. Jour. Sci., 
Apr. 2SS7, "Eaton gives credit for what he knows of the 
region to professor Dewey." Dana bases this statement on an 
acknowledgment in Eaton's "Index," of 1820, of the "assist- 
ance for two or three years, of that able and accurate naturalist, 
Professor Dewey, of Williams College." 1 1 is generous recog- 
nition of an assistant ought not to rob him of the chief credit 
for his work. 

To appreciate the labor required to produce his little 55-page 
report on this Survey of Albany Co., we must see him at work; 
first collecting his specimens in the field, carefully wrapping 
each and labelling it, with place of discovery, etc. then writing 
up his journal. Then proceeding to his analyses by first pul- 
verizing the soil to be examined ; then dividing it into two or 
three parcels of exactly 200 grains each. One of these parcels 
he then heats in a crucible, "until the pine stirring-stick is a 
little brown." Weighing it again, he attributes its loss of weight 
to the 'water it had contained. Next he heats it to a high red 
heat, stirring with a glass rod "until no shining particles are 
visible." The loss of weight from this process equals the 
amount of animal and vegetable matter. Then placing the 
residue in an assay glass he adds half a pint of pure water, allows 
it to settle for three minutes, dries the sediment in a high red 
heat, and it equals the siliceous matter in the assay. Allowing 
the rest to settle until the liquid is clear, the sediment after 
heating is the aluminous portion. Evaporating the remaining 
liquid, he sets down the solid residium as "soluble salts." 
Finally he heats the other parcels with muriatic acid, and he 
finds that the results thus simply obtained "vary from an 
exact chemical analysis by a very small percentage." 

The next year, 1821, under the same patronage, Mr. Eaton 
completed a similar and equally successful survey of Kenssa- 
laer Co., presented with this paper, and Mr. Van Renssalaer 
was so well satislied with the work that he immediately en- 

Amos Raton. 21 7 

Iarged his plans, and engaged Eaton to make a grand survey 
of die entire district adjoining the Erie Canal, and across 
Massachusetts, through Williamstown, covering a hell, about 
fifty miles wide, and extending from Lake Erie to the Atlan- 
tic Ocean- In connection with this stupendous undertaking', 
before the days of railways, Eaton was the first, according t<> 
James Hall, Geol. of N. V., 18415, to give an account of 
Niagara Falls, with details of the local geological structure. lie 
also first recognized the "Old Red Sandstone" on the Catskill 

Eaton began to be recognized, in the triennial catalogues 
of Williams College his name appeal's up to LS 17 as plain 
"Amos Eaton." In the catalogue of 1820 it is "Mr. Amos 
Eaton." \\\ ] 823 appear the words "Exornati sunt" and 
"Gracilis laurea." In 182(5, it had expanded to "Mr. Amos 
Eaton, Cheni. et. Hist. Nat., et. Phil. Nat. Prof. Schol.Med. 
Vir. Mon.," a series of hieroglyphics which seems to denote 
that he was a Professor of Chemistry and Natural History, 
and Natural Philosophy, and a Professor in the Medical Col- 
lege of the Green Mountain State. 

His geological profile is reproduced in Cobden's Memoir of 
the Erie Canal, with a recognition of the "strength and vigor 
of his intellectual powers and extensive literary acquirements." 

In 1S22, he published a "Zoological Syllabus," especially for 
the benefit of the Troy Female Academy, in which he gave 
regular courses of lectures, lie was of great assistance to Mrs. 
Emma C. (Hart) Willard, the distinguished founder and Prin- 
cipal of this Academy; and he encouraged and aided Mrs. 
Almira U. Lincoln a teacher there, to publish her excellent 
Botany, the discriptions in which were taken by permission 
"almost verbatim" from Eaton's Manual. 

In the same year he published in Albany his "Chemical In- 
structor," price 87>2C, and dedicated it to Dr. T. R. Beck and 
Mrs. Willard. "I have not directed the instructor," he writes, 
"to one experiment which I have not myself repeated; having 
given 17 experimental courses before mixed audiences." "Let 
each student's own hands be applied to these operations." He 


fiffl'Jcshire Historical Society. 

specially describes methods of making simple apparatus; e. g. 
"Flexible tubes may be made of good calf-skin;" "Soaked in 
water three or four hours they will hold gases." 

I regret that there is not space to recount some of the more 
interesting experiments, many of which, such as a method of 
combining oxygen and hydrogen to form water were original 
with Eaton. 

Eaton was a man of irrepressible humor. He is remem- 
bered to-day by Mr. Young of Troy as a "great joker." His 
humor appears most constantly in this old chemical book. Un- 
der "Bismuth," he says, "Ladies who paint with cosmetics, 
whose basis is bismuth, often become tawny on approaching 
an old dock or sewer, owing the action of sulphuretted hydro- 
gen." Again, "If a letter be written on ordinary subjects 
with ink, sentiments of a more delicate nature may be ex- 
pressed in a sympathetic ink (bismuth and nitric acid) between 
the lines. The confidential correspondent has only to dip the 
letter in water before he may catch the fugitive sigh and feast 
his fervid imagination on the half-told assurances. But the 
writing will soon disappear and leave not a vestige to prove a 
forgotten promise." A more serious statement is this; Pure 
alumine (with water) was first discovered by my pupil Dr. 
Ebenezer Emmons in the summer of 1819, in the Richmond 
iron mine. Professor Dewey first analyzed it and called it 
"Hydrate of Alumine." Dr. Torrey called it "Gibbsite." The 
particular copy of Eaton's Chemistry from which 1 took the 
foregoing extracts was formerly the; property of Dr. Torrey, 
and against the last quotation this marginal annotation appears 
in his handwriting: — "This is my Gibbxite." 

By the time this book reached its 2d edition, 182S, Eaton 
had given more than 30 full courses on chemistry, with from 
000 to 800 experiments in each, lie says: u My whole object 
is the practical application of science to the common concerns 
of life.' 1 Having been criticised for this, he says in the 4th 
edition. "It is a curious fact that most of our professors in the 
modern sciences seem inclined to keep aloof from ordinary 
citizens. My 17 years of hard labor are to be set down 
"minus," because my efforts have been devoted to a bad pur- 

Anion Eaton. 219 

pose ; that of making the fanner, the mechanic, the cook, and 
the spinster intelligent companions." Jn a copy of this edition 
which was Eaton's own copy, I found a small pressed (lower, 
which I have preserved as one of the tew obtainable specimens 

his hands have touched. 

Jn \$'2V, also was published Eaton's "Geological Nomencla- 
ture of North America," and "Cuvier's Grand Divisions." 

In 1824, appeared his report on the survey of the district 
adjoining the Erie Canal, with maps exhibiting a profile view 
of the rocks. kt lt is not to he doubted," says Barnard, "that 
this work presents a connected view of mineral masses, with 
their nature and order, taken from actual inspection and sur- 
vey of greater extent than had ever been offered to Geology." 

Jn 1S24, also he published the "Philosophical Instructor, 
216 pp. J quote a single paragraph : ki The Aurora is probably 
caused by electrieal excitation in the upper regions where the 
air is extremely rare. Experiment. Exhaust the air from a 
glass vessel ; stop it tight; rub the vessel in the dark with an 
amalgam on leather. Jt becomes luminous within." 

Mr. Eaton and Mr. Van Renssalaer now projected tlie crown- 
ing achievement of their lives. This was nothing less than the 
founding of an institution where what I shall venture to call 
the Eatonian system of education should be perpetuated for- 
ever. Mr. Eaton modestly calls it the "Rensselaerean" plan. 
Perhaps the honor should be equally divided, but A. J. Weire, 
in his History of the City of Troy, p. 147, says: "the establish- 
ment of the Rensselaer School by Stephen Van Renssalaer was 
due to the exertions of. Professor Amos Eaton." Van Renssa- 
laer's first movement was to send Professor Eaton with a com- 
petent corps of assistants to traverse New York State along the 
route of the Erie Canal, with sufficient apparatus, specimens, 
and the like, to deliver in all the principal towns where an au- 
dience could be gathered, familiar lectures with experiments 
and illustrations on chemistry, natural philosophy, and natural 
history. This was designed to arouse a wide-spread popular in- 
terest, and the experiment was successful, and a ''prodigious in- 
terest in behalf of natural science" was excited. 

220 Berkshire Historical Society. 

On the 5th of November 1824, having provided a suitable 
building, at Troy, with necessary apparatus and a library, Van 
Renssalaer appointed Rev. \)\\ Blatehford president of a board 
of trustees whom he named. lie appointed Amos Eaton sen- 
ior professor, with a liberal salary, and Lewis 0. Beck, junior 
professor. In 1820 the school was incorporated under the 
name k 'Kenssalacr School." 

It is now known as the "Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute," 
and its history has been written by Henry B. Mason, "Bio- 
graphical Reeord, etc., Troy, 1877, 800 pp. (ill., and by its 
present director Palmer 0. Ricketts. As these works are 
readily accesible, I must content myself with the briefest possi- 
ble account of this famous school, which up to 1S39, had fur- 
nished to the world, according to calculations actually made and 
reported to Daniel D. Barnard, "more experimental Teachers 
and Professors, State Geologists, Principal and Assistant Engi- 
neers on Public Works, and practical Chemists and Naturalists 
than had been furnished, in the same time, by all the Colleges 
in the Union." 

Up to 1892, from the alumni of this Institution, there have 
come at least 3!i presidents, 12 L vice-presidents, managers and 
superintendents, and 69 chief engineers of railroad compan- 
ies, steel and iron works, bridge companies, electric com- 
panies, canals, etc. The list includes the Pennsylvania, Cin- 
cinnati Southern, Lake Shore, New York Central, Metropoli- 
tan Elevated, Michigan Central, Union Pacific, Brooklyn Ele- 
vated, Mexican National, and scores of other leading railroads; 
Louisville, Morse, Edge Moor, Rochester, Keystone, and many 
other bridge companies, and the two chief engineers of the 
New York and Brooklyn Suspension Bridge; two chief engi- 
neers of U. S. Navy ; the chief engineer of the World's 
Columbian Exposition ; the chief of technical control of the 
the Panama canal ; supt. of silver mines in the City of Mex- 
ico ; chief engineer of the Delaware and Hudson Canal Co., 
and hundreds of others equally important. 

This school has also furnished 56 professors installed in 35 
of our colleges and universities, besides many teachers in 
technical schools; and five State geologists. Finally eleven 

Amos Eaton. 221 

per cent, of the membership of the American Society of Civil 
Engineers have been graduates of Renssalaer Institute, which 
is as large a percentage as can be credited to any other four 
Institutions combined. Now to become a member of the Am. 
Soc. of Civil Engineers, a man must have been graduated eight 
years, and must have designed and had charge of engineering 
work of some magnitude. 

To have planned and founded, and to have successfully con- 
ducted from 1824 to 1842, an institution which lias produced 
such results must alone give Amos Eaton a distinguished place 
in tbe educational history of the world. 

The original prospectus of this school, which I have seen, 
and a reproduction of which is filed with this paper, is dated 
Sept. 11, 1826, and is believed to be the first prospectus of a 
school of science ever issued in English. 

"In 1835 the first class ever graduated in any English-speak- 
ing country in civil engineering received the degree C. E." 
The first C. E. prospectus issued in English was dated Oct. 14, 
181)5, and signed by Amos Eaton. A fac-simile of this pros- 
pectus is appended to this paper, as is also a copy of the first 
catalogue, issued in 1820, and containing the act of incorpora- 
tion, constitution and by-laws of the school. It will well repay 
perusal, if only for tbe unique by-law, No. 6, ''Every person, 
after receiving a Renssalaer degree, shall ever after remain 
perpetual member of Renssalaer school, until he shall resign or 
be expelled for misconduct," etc. 

"In this school," says \)v. Durfee, "Professor Eaton was en- 
abled to perfect, and carry to a high degree of success, his 
favorite plan of making bis pupils experimenters and workers, 
substituting also lectures by the pupils to each other in place 
of the usual system of recitations." 

There was a regular daily routine; the first bell rang at sun- 
rise, the second 20 minutes later. Five minutes after this tbe 
the students assembled for an examination on tbe exercises of 
the preceding day. At nine o'clock a lecture was given by the 
Professor to all the students. At ten the daily assistant, called 
the "officer of the day," (and this position was filled by the 
students in rotation,) gave a lecture before all in the presence 

222 Berkshire Historical Society. 

of the Professor, after which the students criticised his style, 
manner and experimental illustrations. 

Ten minutes later, two sub-assistants gave lectures in sepa- 
rate rooms, each before two divisions, in the presence of a 
professor or assistant. Every one took notes for the general 
criticism at the close of the forenoon exercises. After this the 
four divisions separated, each going to its respective depart- 
ment, where every student in turn lectured before the others 
and a professor or assistant. Then all met, and each criticised 
all the lectures he had heard. 

After dinner the divisions prepared for the experiments and 
demonstrations of the next day. At four o'clock the students 
met to receive directions for the afternoon "amusements." 
These consisted in visits, by divisions under the lead of their 
instructors, to workshops, factories, etc., or to the held to col- 
lect plants or minerals. Every other Saturday was a complete 
holiday, and the alternate Saturdays, and also Saturday and 
Friday evenings were devoted to parliamentary exercises. The 
students represented the different States and formed a parlia- 
ment for practice in debate. Winter amusements were the 
use of the sextant, compass, goniometer, blow-pipe, telescope, 
etc., the construction and use of ice lenses and prisms, map- 
drawing and the dissection of animals. 

Spring amusements included collecting and preserving plants, 
animals, and minerals ; land-surveying and levelling ; calculat- 
ing water-pressure in locks, aqueducts, mill flumes, dams, race- 
ways, penstocks, and pumps; applying the principles of 
"mechanical philosophy" to the machinery of steamboats, mills, 
factories, etc.; application of mathematics to cask and ship 
gauging, etc., examination of the progress of agricultural and 
horticultural operations; and application of active substances 
to plants in the experimental garden. 

Feb. 12, 1827, a by-law was passed requiring each student to 
make "a tour of about three weeks along the Erie Canal, * :i: 
and across the primitive district in an Eastern direction." 

In a circular of six pages written by Eaton, and entitled 
"Renssalaer School Flotilla for the Summer of 1850," it was 
announced that Students taking the tour were to meet'at the 


lii'rhs/n /w Ilistovicul Society. 

Cortlandt street dock, New York, City, and proceed by steam* 

boat to Albany, whence a tlotilla of canal-boats was to take 
them through the Erie ('anal to Lake Erie. Daily morning 

lectures were to be given, and in the afternoon botanical and 
geological excursions were to be made. The decks were to be 
kept cool by the frequent sprinkling of water. At this time 
the total cost of attendance for one year was $230, which 
tolerable economy might reduce to $170. 

Further to increase the usefulness of the institution the facul- 
ty were authorized May 21, 182V, to establish district branches 
in any part of the State when assurance was giveii that "suita- 
ble rooms and sufficient apparatus would be supplied." 

Complete directions for introducing experimental science in 
academies and common schools were also given at this time. 

Under the bead of "amusements," Mr. Eaton wrote "Stu- 
dents may be taught the general outlines of civil engineering, 
land-surveying, etc., in lieu of mischievous tricks, degrading 
contortions called gymnastics, and profane language." During 
the winter of 1827 forty mechanics placed themselves under 
the direction of this school, not entering as regular members, 
but paying one of the professors to teach them. 

In 1828 an invitation was sent to each county of the State to 
furnish a student selected by the Clerk of the County, for 
gratuitous instruction, on condition that such students should 
agree to teach the experimental and demonstrative method ia 
their own counties for one year. This invitation was very 
generally accepted. In the same year a special course for 
ladies was opened, and successfully maintained for many years, 

In 1834, Professor Eaton remarked at the end of a printed 
synopsis of his mathematical course. "Ths waste of time in 
many female schools by the fashionable mummery of algebra, 
half learned and never applied, has caused many to ascribe the 
failure in mathematics to the perversion of female genius. * * 
The true cause is to be found in parsimony, which excludes 
competent teachers; bad i 1 y selected subjects, and wretchedly 
compiled text books.' 1 

Air. A^an Renssalaer at first contemplated supporting the 
school for only three years, but as, at the expiration of that 

A , • /. ■ n. 225 

time, it had not become Bc)f-6np|x>rtiug, lie upheld it as 
it needed by his contribati for many j care 

lunger. During 1\ feasor Eal q's control of this school he 

sed its standard fn ipnlar institution of 182 

to a thorough training school for civil engineers, and in Wi y . 
the candidate for its degree : < E. - required to Ije "theo- 
retically and practically familiar with trigonometry and mensu- 
ration, with their various applications; with the level in laying 
out roads, M'Adam i tilroads, c ith running 

curves, and staking out and calculating for excavations and em- 
bankments : with casting and constructing tables of ordinate* 
and versed lines; also the principles on which natural lines arc 
calculated, const: ; with conic se ti i as 1 

in civil gineering; with statics and dynamics, hydro- 
tics and hydronomics so far as respects application to flumes, 
water-wheels, and des i ling . ice (rays; als the city and 
sufficient wers : spouting fluids applied to driving machinery. 

"lie must be familiar by practice with the calculations : 
rilling and emptying locks, the supply of water by weight and 
measure which any steam will afford as a feeder, or for any 
hydraulic purpose ; with the neeess calculations for water- 
works, whethei 1 in pip—, sees, . open racewa 
with calculating the height and pressure of the atinosphe 
with calculating the height of clouds: with taking and calcula- 
i and longitude; with taking the heights of hills 

and mountains with the barometer and then eter; with 

taking exten. ... i ;.- survey- and profiles with the barometer 
and triangular spans.. 

"He must be qualified I to fix a transit line when- 

ever required, to determine the variation of the needle at any 
time and place very nearly, to make a i graphical survej 
any district of country, and t nge spherical areas of large 

districts, taken by latitude and longitude, into rectangular ai 
by Mercators method. 

u He most be an accurate Ian'.-- ry and j 

a practical geologist, so far ;is to be able to make a correct re- 
port of the rucky and earthy sits through which he 
out a canal ur railroad. 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

"lie must 1)0 so far versed in architecture as to be enabled to 
direct the construction of bridges and other works of engineer- 
ing in comely style, and he must be perfectly familiar with 

plotting and business drafting. 

During the last three years of Eaton's life the school enrolled 
05 pupils, ten of whom wore from other states than New York. 

It had long been a principle of the school that no class under 
a single professor should exceed five or six pupils at one time. 
By this provision the most careful personal training was 

At the very outset of his work in Rcnssalaer, Eaton suffered 
the loss of his third wife, who died in Troy, December IS, 
182G. On August 5, 1827, he married Alice, daughter of Ben- 
jamin and Alice (Smith) Johnson, who was burn at Middleton, 
Conn., November 24-, 17SS, and, who surviving her husband, 
died at Troy, July 5, 1846. She rendered great practical assist- 
ance in the conduct of the school. Her only child, Johnson 
Humboldt Eaton, born at Troy, Nov. 23, 1829, was a clerk in 
New York City, a land surveyor after 1851 in California, and 
died unmarried at Reno, Nevada, May 24, 18S0. 

I have alluded to Eaton's intense personality as bursting 
everywhere through the technicalities even of his most scientific 
books. The same unconscious self-revelation was curiously 
manifested even in the naming of his children. From those 
names alone we might fairly deduce first, his strong affection 
for his family. — His first son, Thomas Hurd, bears the name of 
Eaton's mother, who was the daughter of Amos Hurd, and 
who evidently had named her son by her father's christian 
name. The 'Thomas' was in honor of his wife, who was born 
Polly Thomas. The maiden names of his other wives, Cady, 
Bradley, and Johnson are all found among the names of his 
sons, and possibly an especial fondness for his second wife, 
Sally Cady, is suggested by the fact that her name, Cady, was 
given not only to her son Daniel Cady Eaton, but also that her 
full name was given to the first child of his third wife, Sara 
Cady Eaton; and that her foster father's name, u Beebe," was 
linked with his own name and bestowed upon her second son, 
Amos Beebe Eaton. 

Amos /i'at on. -2'2l 

Whether the rugged religious nature of Professor Raton liad 
also its share in the ehoiee of the Old Testament names, Amos, 
Daniel, and llezekiah, and of (lie New Testament names, 
Timothy and Thomas, is perhaps doubtful, but there can be no 
doubt that Ik; selected the three names, Ltniueus, Cuvicr, and 
Humboldt, in token of his interest in the three great depart 
mentsof natural science, botany, zoology, and geology. 

Thus by the very names of his children, coupled with the 
fact that he had so many of them, we might have learned that 
he was a man of great physical force, strong in family affection, 
of reverent faith, and devoted to science in these departments. 

In 1828, Professor Eaton published a small work' on "Geo- 
logical Nomenclature for North America," and in 1830 ;i 
Geological Text-Book, whose title-page shows that the author 
was then a member of the American Geological Society of the 
Philadelphia Academy of Natural Science, etc. He says, "I 
propose to present all my supposed heresies to the geological 
fraternity in this form and under this title. And 1 beg the fa- 
vor of the most rigorous criticism. As I have had more than 
7000 pupils (or auditors) and shall probably have more still, it 
will be well for them 'to be on the alert' if 1 am propagating 
errors. I am not in sport. I have during the hist fifteen years 
travelled over IT, 000 miles for the express purpose of collect- 
ing geological materials, the results of which are comprised in 
this little octavo pamphlet, and exhibited in tin; accompanying 
maps and wood-cuts. 11 ' k I am prepared to abandon any of my 
views, as I have frequently done heretofore, in cases of numer- 
ous errors, to which I am still subject. Geology is a progressive 

The same year also he published "Art without Science," pp. 
90. This is one of the most interesting of all Eaton's books, 
as it is a reprint (with additions) of his first book, with the 
same title, written by him in 1793, when only 17 years of age 
and published in 1810, by a "most respectable clergyman in 
New Haven, to gratify the ambition of my boyhood." 

it describes in amusing detail his simple and most ingenious 
methods of surveying, with home-made instruments, and origi- 
nal mathematical "short-cuts" and devices. Of his method he 


1U rkslnrc Historical Society. 

says, "common sense being in its favor, no i nil nonce can check 
its progress. The cloister begins to surrender to the Held, 
where things, not words, are studied." 

In L83S, he issued a "Prodromus, or Practical Treatise on 
Mathematical Arts." "The only successful mode of instruc- 
tion is that which interests the student." "He should always 
survey before learning the science of surveying." 

In lS41,came his last book, a C4eological Note- Hook, for the 
class of 1841, and notable chiefly for his adoption of the Cam- 
brian, Silurian, and Devonian systems. This seemed an im- 
portant step to Eaton, and when the life-sized portrait of him, 
which now hangs in the Institute he founded, was painted 
shortly before his death, by A. B. Moore, of Troy, he took care 
to bold in his hand a scroll on which were inscribed the simple 
words "Cambrian, Silurian, Devonian." 

A little incident of this year shows that Professor Eaton's 
thoughts still reverted affectionately to Williams College. 

On Sunday, Oct IT, 18*1, "East College" was destroyed by 
lire. On the 22d, Eaton wrote from Troy to Professors [lop- 
kins and Kellogg ; "As the building in which my Alma Mater 
nursed my senior year is in ruins perhaps we can aid you and 
gratify our own feelings by taking charge of some of your 
students until you are ready to receive them again. 

Yours with much esteem, Amos Eaton." 

The students had already found places in the homes of 
Williamstown, but the invitation was none the less thoughtful 
and kind. 

The death of Professor Eaton occurred on the 10th of May, 
1S-12. lie had long been a sufferer from asthma. Nearly the: 
last words that fell from his lips, says Prof. II. 1>. Mason, were, 
"J submit to my heavenly father's will." 

The predominant physical characteristic of Amos Eaton was 
ruggedness. In view of the tremendous exertions required to 
travel 17,000 miles in those early days, over moor and moun- 
tain ; of the strain of constant mental work, and the labor of 
providing for his large family, under the strain of constantly 
recurring bereavements and trials, his "large frame"— he was 
about live feet, ten inches in height, and weighed 200 lbs., — 

A j> i os Katon. 


;uk1 wonderful muscular development were essential factors of 
liis success. I Inn. Martin [. Townsend has spoken of him as"o3 
eessively homely," but his portrait tells n different story, and I 

incline to think that il was rather the predominance of strength 
than the absence of beauty, which caused such an impression. 
Even in old age his blue eyes retained a wonderful fire, and 
his glance pierced through all disguises. His hair, originally 
black, had then turned gray, and crowning his lofty forehead 
made him venerable. He was not without a certain vanity re- 
garding his fine hair, and used to insist upon his barber's care- 
fully shaving the high curves of his forehead so as to preserve 
the precise outline which he fancied. He stooped in his walk 
in his later years, breathed with asthmatic pain, which led 
some to think him gruff, and was somewhat careless in his 
dress, and this together with the natural awkwardness of great 
strength, overtaxed, led Mi'. Townsend to characterize his gen- 
eral appearance as "amorphous." 

All this was forgotten in the presence of his gracious and 
even courtly manner, and under the illumination of his face 
when lighted by interest in conversation. His grandson Prof. 
Daniel (J. Katon writes to me of him, Jan 9, 1895, "1 barely 
remember seeing my grandfather. It must have been about 
the year 1841. I only remember a gray -haired old man, sitting 
in his easy chair, talking to my father and my uncle about 
matters which 1 did not understand, lie was a tluent speaker 
and a man of ready wit. His parents had no portraits, and his 
birth-place was destroyed long years ago." 

Of Eaton's mental power there can be no doubt. Enough 
has been said to demonstrate his energy, his patience, his keen- 
ness of observation, and his direct, practical, common sense 
manner of grasping the essentials of all the branches of natural 
science. Of his ultimate rank as an exact scientist, I am not 
competent to speak. In addition to the estimates of his work 
which I have quoted, I will add that of Hon. Martin I. Town- 
send, who wrote to me of him dan. IG, 1895, "He was a great 
man both by nature and study. His fame as a naturalist should 
be eternal ;" and a few lines written from Boston, Feb. 1, 1S>n4, 
to the late Prof. D. (J. Eaton of Vale, by the late Dr. Thomas 

!^)< > Uet'hahiro [fiatot'ical Society. 

Sterry limit, U I mailed you few days since a memoir on 'The 
Taeonie System in Geology,' in which I have bought to sel 
forth the groat work of Amos Eaton in Geology. I am sure 
you will see with pleasure that alter hall' a century the true 
value of the work of your aueestor is made known. I shall 
print a tabular view which I have constructed which will serve 
as a sort of monumental tablet, I trust, to the founder of geo- 
logical science in America, one whose work, moreover, is k\^ 
tined to show great light on some of the vexed questions of 
European stratigraphy as well. It remains in the second part 
ol in)' memoir, now nearly written, to show the wider bear- 
ings of Eaton's classification. 

I am, my dear Prof. Eaton, with great regard, 

Very sincerely yours, T. Stkkky Hint.' 1 

The paper in question appears in the Transactions of the 
Royal Soc. of Canada, Vol. 1, Sec IV, LSS3, pp. k ^lT 27U in- 

In the tenth annual report of the United States Geological 
Survey, 1888-0, p. 525, Mi'. 0. L). VVolcott has reproduced 
Eaton's section from Savoy to Troy, as given in his survey of 
tin; Erie Canal. 

In kw Pioneers of Science in America," I). Appleton, LSi)(>, in 
the sketch of EbenezOr Emmons, the following passage occurs, 
wk In 1842, he (Emmons) pointed out a great system of stratified 
rocks under the Potsdam, which he called the l Taconic Sys- 
tem.' This announcement brought upon him a storm of con- 
tradiction and ridicule, and for a time he was scientifically 
ostracised. Subsequently, discoveries by the Canada survey, 
and by Barrande in Bohemia, however, as well as the investi- 
gations of late eminent geologists, have completely sustained 
him." "In propounding the term 'Taeonie System, 1 Prof. 
Emmons was following the instruction and views of his teacher 
Prof. Amos Eaton, who promulgated his opinions regarding 
the age of these rocks in his lectures at Williams College from 
1SP7 onward, and subsequently in his lectures at the Itenssalaer 
School to the end of his life." 

Speaking of his botany, Mr. C. (Caleb?) Gushing says, N. A. 
Rev. July, 1821, p. 100, "As a convenient and accurate guide, 

Amos Eaton. 231 

co in pressing a great variety of matter into a narrow compass, 
(hu manual is deserving of great praise. And it should be 
mentioned as an additional recommendation that while Pursh 
and Nuttall have omitted all eryptogamous plants except the 
ferns, Eaton has given quite a full account of the eryptogamous 
speeies which he and his friends had observed, amounting to 
four hundred and twenty -four more than Michaux describes in 
the flora Boreali-Americana." 

Of his power as a teacher there has never been any question. 
U. Q. Boone, in Education in the United States, L 893, says : 
"Eaton lias been called the "Father of American Geology.' He 
was the instructor of Hall, Dana, and Williams, and initiated 
the interest in a half-dozen states." 

Mrs. Emma Williard spoke of Eaton as "The Republican 

Prof. James Hall, of Albany, who himself graduated under 
Eaton in LS32, says, "In the lectures of Prof. Eaton at Htica 
came the teachings which resulted in the scientilic interest of 
Professor Dana, and Professor Gray, and Professor Torrey." 
"In the progress of civilzation, it is not the slow uniform mo- 
tion of the great masses that helps it forward, hut the few men 
who come out from them. " x " * * Professor Eaton taught us 
the manipulations in science with the simplest materials, so 
that a student could go into the forest and construct a pneu- 
matic trough or a balance, and perforin there his experiments 
in chemistry or physics. * * lie was a man capable of interest- 
ing y<»ung men ; a man having a brain one-fourth larger 
than that of the mass of mankind, and that brain devoted to the 
service of science." 

Professor Hall's statement of Eaton's influence upon Torrey 
is confirmed as follows in the sketch of Torrey in "Pioneers of 
Science in America," Appleton, 189G; — "While in his teens he 
(Torrey) came under the influence of that famous teacher of 
science, Amos Eaton, whe explained to him the structure of 
flowers, and thus kindled a zeal for botanical study that persist- 
ed to the end of his pupil's life." 

AVas it not enough for one man, if he had done no more, to 
have kindled the undying flame of scientific ardor in the souls 


232 Berkshire TUstorical Society. 

of Emmons, Dewey, Hopkins, Hall, Dana, Torrey, Nuttall, 

Williams, Beck, Van Renssalaer, Mrs. Lincoln, and Mary Lyon? 

"By their fruits ye .shall know them?" 

Owing to tiie narrow-minded views of the society by which 
his earnest application was rejected, Professor Eaton was not a 
member of the church. In that application he wrote, "I wi.-h 
to be directed on the ground of duty alone. I can readily bring 
my feelings to cordial acquiescence in whatever duty com- 
mands. But I cannot consent to he viewed by yon as an enemy 
of religion. 1 ' 

"Professor Eaton was a firm believer in the Christian re- 
ligion," says Prof. II. B. Nason, who knew him as well as any 
man, "and he was sustained and comforted by its truths amid 
trials and afflictions which seldom fell to the lot of man," 

In a letter to his wife after a dec;}) affliction he wrote, "I 
feel that these trials are but the chastisement of a father. * * 
My faith in Divine revelation and in the immediate agency o\' 
an all-seeing God is greatly strengthened." 

Again he writes : "My little office has become to me a house 
of prayer. I can close my work by strenuous exertion so as to 
gain two or three hours each day for reading of the scriptures, 
contemplation, and prayer." "At last," he adds, "I seemed to 
consent to all the terms of the Gospel, and to throw myself 
wholly upon Divine mercy without reserve. I have faith to 
believe that he heard my prayer and gave my soul its first 
moments of real peace." 

lie was one of the best and truest of friends. Whenever 
occasion required, the big generous heart within prompted 
deeds and actions which can never be forgotten. His distin- 
guished daughter said of him in a letter, ki I was blessed by the 
genial, loving Professor Amos Eaton's tenderest care and in- 
fluence. Nowhere was there ever seen a better exhibition of 
true parental care and affection than in his home." 

Professor Eaton's body sleeps in Oakwood cemetery, at Troy, 
N. Y. The hold which he had upon the affection of his pupils 
is evidenced by the fact that on June 1<>, 1S74, thirty-two years 
after his death, and during the semi-centennial celebration of 
the founding of the school, a monument was dedicated to his 

Amos Eaton.. 233 

memory by the Alumni of Rcnssalaer Institute. It is n cubi- 
cal block of light gray granite, brought from the const of 
Maine. It weighs cloven tons, measures four feet, six inches, 
by live feet, and bears the simple inscription, "Professor Amos 
Eaton, born May 17th, 1776, died May 10th, 1842." 

One of the oldest graduates remarked that he could not con- 
ceive of a monument more appropriate to Professor Eaton, for, 
like the man, it is simple, massive, and substantial. 

At the same time a beautiful memorial window also the gift 
of the Alumni was unveiled in the Institute Hall, the monu- 
ment and window together costing $1000. The window is fif- 
teen feet in height and live in width. In the center is a life- 
sized portrait, accurately copied from the painting by Moore, 
already mentioned. Beneath the portrait is inscribed, "The 
Republican Philosopher." Near the top in a circle are repre- 
sented the two beautiful species of grass Eatonia obtusata, and 
Eatonia Pennsylvanica, named in honor of Eaton by Profes- 
sor Gray. Near the bottom in a circle are pictured a chain, a 
transit, and a geological hammer, while at the bottom is the in- 
scription, "Amos Eaton, born at Chatham, N. Y., May 17th, 
1770; died at Troy, N. Y., May 6th, 1842." 

1 note a curious, and hitherto apparently unremarked dis- 
crepancy between the date of his death as given on the monu- 
ment and on the window. On the former it is "May 10th," on 
the latter, "May 6." Durfee, Nason, and Ricketts, in their 
histories all agree upon May 6, but Professor Ricketts quotes 
from the resolutions passed by the Trustees of Rcnssalaer In- 
stitute, upon the death of Professor Eaton, "The trustees are 
called to the painful duty of recording the death of Professor 
Amos Eaton who has long been at the head of the Rcnssalaer 
Institute. He died on the tenth of May, 1842, in the sixty- 
sixth year of his age." This date is doubtless correct, 

At the dedication of the monument Professor Nason con- 
cluded his address as follows: "As in ancient times the brows of 
bloodless victors were crowned with a myrtle wreath, so today 
as we dedicate this block of granite to the memory of Amos 
Eaton, we place upon it the wreath of myrtle. True it will 
soon wither and die, but the good deeds, the noble actions, and 



Berkshire 1 Historical Society. 

words of the teacher will live on in the hearts of those, he in- 
structed, and their influence shall he felt when this massive 
block of granite shall have crumbled to dust ; yea till time shall 
be no more." 

J close with four lines from a poem read at the semi-centen- 
nial dinner by Dr. J. (x. Ambler, of New Fork, who was 
graduated under Eaton in 1833. 

"Sleep noble Eaton I in thine honored rest., 
No anxious cares to pain Ihy peaceful breast, 
But grateful words in granite shall proclaim, 
Our lasting reverence for thy worthy name." 


Reprint of First Circular of the Rensselaer 








April 3, 1826. 







SAMUEL BLATCIIFOUD, 1). 1). of Laiisiiigburgh, 


(). L. IIOLLEY, EsquiRE, of Troy, 


Dr. T. II. BECK, of Albany, 




Hon. John CUAMEU, State Senator. 


lion. SIMEON DE WITT, Surveyor -General. 
Dr. T. 11. BECK, Prof. Western Medical College. 



AMOS EATON, Esq. of Troy, 

Professor of Chemistry and Natural Philosophy, and Lecturer on 

Geology, Land Surveying, A:e. 

LEWIS C. BECK, M. 1). of Albany, 
Professor of Botany, Mineralogy and Zoology. 

Mr. II. N. LOCKWOOD, of Troy, Treasurer. 

Dr. MOSES DALE, of Troy, Secretary. 

Mr. ASAHEL GILBERT, Jun. Steward. 

Assistants are elected temporarily by the President and 




iStilmon E. Anns, Catalan. 

Anson P. Bebeo, Chatham. 

Abner Benedict, Do. 

Daniel B. Cady Schoharie. 

Luther Cross, Grafton, N. II. 

Albert 1 )anker, Troy. 

llezekiab Ilulbert Eaton Do. 

Thonias Ilurd Eaton, Randolph, Mass. 

Timothy Dwight Eaton, Troy. 

Jonathan Ely, Prof, in the 1'olylechny School, Chitteningo. 

tibenczer Emmons, M. D., Cheater, Mam. 

lUehard 11. llale, Troy. 

William G. llanai'ord, Knfield, N. 11. 

Oscar Hanks, Troy. 

Addison Ilulbert, Chatham. 

Samuel Clinton Jackson, Florida. 

William A. King, . PhiladetyhiaJ'eu 

Philip C. VV. T. McManus Troy. 

Orlin Oatman, Middletoion, V( r. 

William S. Peltou Monticello. 

Bennett F. Boot, Chatham. 

James Madison Trimble, Hillsboro, Ohio. 

Charles Weston Samly Hill. 

George Washington Weston Do. 

Richard 11. Williams Middlesex. 

N. ]>. It having been publicly announced in the newspapers 
that it was intended to bring Mr. Van Rensselaer's method of 
instruction, (that of causing students to be taught by lecturing 
to the professors,) into full operation, without the embarrass- 
ment which would naturally be caused by great numbers, it 
may be proper to give notice, that the plan is now so far ma- 
tured, that larger numbers will be admitted on the last Wed- 
nesday in ne.vt July, and at the beginning of any term there- 
after. But no student can be admitted previous to said last 
Wednesday in July, consistently with the regulations adopted 
since the passage of the act of incorporation. 



On the third day of April, 1826, the trustees met at this 
school, pursuant to notice. Present, the Rev. Samuel [Match- 
ford, D. D. president and trustee for Lansingburgh, with Ins 
colleague, Elias Parmelee, Esquire; the Honorable Simeon De 
Witt, Surveyor-General, and Professor T. R. Peek, M. I)., 
trustees for Albany; the Honorable John I). Dickinson, and 
Richard P. Hart, trustees for Troy ; and the Honorable (inert 
Van Schoonhoven, trustee for Waterford. All the trustees 
being present, excepting one of the Waterford members, who 
was duly notified of the meeting. 

The secretary, Dr. Moses Hale, was ealled upon by the 
president, to read the aet which was passed by the legislature 
of this state, March 11, 1826, for the incorporation of this 

*Ail Act to Incorporate the lienxxeluer School, — Pawed March Jl, l.\.'c>. 

WHEREAS the Honorable Stephen Van Rensselaer has procured suit- 
able buildings in the city of Troy, in Rensselaer county, and therein sel 
up a school, and at his own private expense has furnished the same with a 
seientitic library, chemical and philosophical apparatus, instruments for 
teaching land surveying and other branches of practical mathematics, 
which are useful to the agriculturist, the machinist and to other artists, has 
caused to be prepared and furnished separate and convenient rooms for in- 
struction in Natural Philosophy, Natural History, the common operations 
in Chemistry, and an assay room for the analysis of soils, manures, miner- 
als and animal and vegetable matter, with the application of these depart- 
ments of science to agriculture, domestic economy, and the arts : And 
whereas said Van Rensselaer has employed teachers, and caused an experi- 
mental system of instruction to be adopted by them, whereby each student 
is required to observe the operations of a select number of agriculturists 
and artists in the vicinity of said school, and to demonstrate the principles 
upon which the results of such operations depend, by experiments and 
specimens performed and exhibited by his own hands, under the direction 
of said teachers : And whereas one important object of said school is to 
bualify teachers for instructing youth in villages ami in common school 


Appendix. 241 

A motion was made by Mr. De Witt, that the officers of the 
school be re-appointed, agreeable to the 5th section of the act. 

districts, belonging to the class of fanners and mechanics, by lectures or 
otherwise, in the application of the most important principles of experiment- 
al chemistry, natural philosophy, natural history, and practical mathe- 
matics to agriculture, domestic economy, the arts and manufacturers : 
And whereas the trustees of said school, who were appointed to take charge 
thereof by said Van Rensselaer, by an instrument in writing, dated No 
veinber the lifth, in the year eighteen hundred and twenty-four, have rep- 
resented to this legislature, that after having tested the plan of said school 
by a fair trial of one year, they find it to be practicable, and, in their 
opinion, highly beneficial to the public : And whereas the legislature con- 
sider it their duty to encourage such laudable efforts, and such munificent 
applications of the surplus wealth of individuals : Therefore, 

I. De it enacted by the people of the state of New- York, represented in Sen- 
ate and AsHtvihly, That Simeon De Witt, Samuel Blatchford, John D. 
Dickinson, Guert Van Schoonhoven, Elias Parmelee, Richard P. Hart, 
John Cramer, and Theodoric Homey n Beck, shall be, and are hereby con- 
stituted a body corporate and politic, by the name of " The President and 
Trustees of Rensselaer School," and by that name they shall have per- 
petual succession, and shall be capable of suing and being sued, pleading 
and being impleaded, answering and being answered unto, defending and 
being defended, in all courts and suits whatever ; and may have a common 
seal, with power to change or altar the same from time to time ; and shall 
be capable of purchasing, taking possession of, holding and enjoying to 
them and their successors, any real estate, in fee simple or otherwise, and 
any goods, chattels and personal estate, and of selling leasing, or otherwise 
disposing of the said real and personal estate, or any part thereof, at their 
will and pleasure : Provided howecer, That the funds of the said corpora- 
tion shall be used for and appropriated to the objects contemplated in the 
preamble of this act : And provided also, That the clear annual income of 
such real and personal estate shall not exceed the sum of twenty thousand 

II. And be it further enacted, That the said trustees shall from time to 
time, forever hereafter, have power to make, constitute, ordain and estab- 
lish such by-laws and regulations as they may judge proper, for the elec- 
tion of their ollicers and prescribing their respective functions, for the gov- 
ernment of the ollicers and students of said school as to their respective 
duties, for collecting fines, impositions and term fees, for suspending, ex- 
pelling and otherwise punishing students, so that it shall not extend farther 
than expulsion and retaining term fees, and collecting the amount of any 
damages done by the students to the property of said school, for confering 
on students such honors as they may judge proper, having relation to the 
object of said school as expressed in the said preamble, and for managing 


242 Berkshire Historical Society. 

Whereupon all persons in office at t lie date of the meeting 
were continued in their respective offices by an unanimous vote. 
(See their names on a preceding page.) 

On motion of Mr. Dickinson, it was resolved unanimously, 
that, by the authority vested in this board of trustees in the 
second section of the act just read by the secretary, the constitu- 
tion of said school heretofore adopted, consisting of a letter ad- 
dressed by the Honorable Stephen Van Rensselaer to the Rev. 
Samuel Blatchford, dated at Albany, Nov. 5th, 1824, and an- 
other dated at Washington, Feb. 11th, 1825, be the Constitu- 
tion of said school, forever hereafter, with the following 
amendments, as authorised by the introduction to the last of 

and directing all the concerns of said school ; also for confirming the con- 
stitution and by-laws, or any part thereof, heretofore adopted by said 
trustees, provided such by-laws and regulations have relation to tin: sub 
jects of the preamble of this act exclusively. 

III. And be it, further enacted, That the officers of said school shall con- 
sist of a president, two vice-presidents, a treasurer and secretary, two pro- 
fessors, and such a number of adjunct professors and assistants as the 
trustees may from time to time appoint or authorise the appointment of, a 
librarian, monitor and steward. That whenever any vacancy shall happen 
among the trustees of said school, such vacancy or vacancies may be tilled 
by a quorum of the remaining trustees, so that two trustees shall reside in 
Albany, two in Troy, two in Lansingburgh, and two in Water f< nil 

IV. And be it further enacted, That there shall be an annual meeting of 
the trustees of said school on the last Wednesday in April, at which meet 
ing four members of the board of trustees shall constitute a quorum, and 
that four members shall also form a quorum at all special meetings, to be 
called by the president at any time after the passing of this act, provided 
a written notice of such meeting, signed by the president or by any one of 
the vice-presidents, shall be left at the dwelling-house or place of residence 
of such member of the board seven days previous to such special meeting. 

V. And he it further enacted, That Samuel Blatchford shall be president, 
and that lie, together with all the other officers of said school, shall remain 
as heretofore, until a special meeting of a quorum of said trustees shall be 
assembled at said school, by the president, or by a vice-president, as pre- 
scribed in the fourth section of this act, or until the annual meeting on the 
last Wednesday in April next, then to be permitted to continue in their re- 
spective offices, or their places to be tilled at the pleasure of the trustees. 

VI. And he it further enacted, That the legislature may at any time 
modify or repeal this act. 

Appendix. 24-3 

the above letters: to wit, that there he three terms in each 
year, to he denominated the Fall Term, Winter Term, and 
Spring Term. That the fall term shall he an experimental 
term, to commence on the third Wednesday in July and con- 
tinue fifteen weeks; that the winter term shall he a recitation 
term, to commence on the third Wednesday in November and 
continue twelve weeks; and that the spring term shall he an 
experimental term, to commence on the first Wednesday in 
March and continue until the last Wednesday in June; and 
that the annual Commencement he held on the said last Wed- 
nesday in June. 

Copies of the letters before referred to, which ore 
adopted as the Constitution of Rensselaer School. 


Dear Sir— I have established a school at the north end 
of Troy, in ltensselaer county, in the building usually called 
the Old Dank Place, for the purpose of instructing person?, 
who may choose to apply themselves, in the application of 
science to the common pjurposes of life. My principal object 
is, to qualify teachers for instructing the sons and daughters 
of farmers and mechanics, by lectures or otherwise, in the 
application of experimental chemistry, philosophy, and natural 
history, to agriculture, domestic economy, the arts and manu- 
factures. From the trials which have been made by persons in 
my employment at Utica, Whitesborough, Home, Auburn and 
Geneva, during the last summer, I am inclined to believe, that 
competent instructors may be produced in the school at Troy, 
who will be highly useful to community in the diffusion of a 
very useful kind of knowledge, with its application to the busi- 
ness of living. Apparatus for the necessary experiments has 
been so much simplified, and specimens in natural history have 
become subjects of such easy attainment, that but a small sum 
is now required as an out-tit for an instructor in the proposed 
branches of science. Consequently, every school district may 

244 Berkshire Historical Society. 

have the benefit of such a of instruction about once in 
two or three years, as soon as we can furnish a sufficient num- 
ber of teachers. I prefer this plan to the endowment of a 
single public institution, for the resort of those only, whose; 
parents are able and willing to send their children from home, 
or to enter them for several years upon the Fellenberg plan. 
It seems to comport better with the habits of our citizens ami 
the genius of our government, to place the advantages of use- 
ful improvement, equally within the reach of all. 

Whether my expectations will ever be realized or not, I am 
willing to hazard the necessary expense of making the trial. 
Having procured a suitable building, advantageously located 
among farmers and mechanics, and having furnished funds, 
which are deemed sufficient by my agent in this undertaking, 
for procuring the necessary apparatus, &c. it now remains to 
establish a system of organization, adapted to the object. You 
will excuse me, if I attach too much consequence to the under- 
taking. But it appears to me, that a board of trustees to de- 
cide upon the manner of granting certificates of qualifications, 
to regulate the government of students, &c. is essential. I 
therefore take the liberty to appoint you a Member, ami Prksi- 
dent of a Board of Trustees for this purpose. I appoint the 
following gentlemen Trustees of the same board. The Rev. 
Dr. Blatchford and Elias Parmelee, of Lansinyburgh • 
Guert A r AN Sciiooiioven and John Cramer, Esqrs. of Water- 
ford I Simeon De Witt and T. IIomeyn Beck, of Albany j 
John 1). Dickinson and Jedediaii Tracy, of Troy. And J 
appoint (). L Holley, Esq. of Troy, and T. R. Beck, of Al- 
bany, First and Second Vice-Presidents of said Board. 

As a few regulations are immediately necessary, in order to 
present the school to the public, it seems necessary that 1 
should make the following orders, subject to be altered by the 
trustees, after the end of the first term. 

Order 1. The board of trustees is to meet at times and 
places to be notified by the president, or by one of the vice- 
presidents, in the absence or disability of the president. One 
half of the members of the board are to form a quorum for 
doing business. A majority of the members present may fill 

Ajyptndtx. 245 

any vacancy which happens in the hoard ; so that there may he 
two members resident in Troy, two in Lansingburgh, two in 
Waterfowl, and two in Albany. The powers and duties of the 
trustees to he such as those exercised by all similar hoards — 
the object of the school being always kept in view. 

Order 2. I appoint Dr. Moses 1 1 alio, of Troy, Secretary, 
and Mr. II. N. LocicwooD, Treasurer. 

Order 3. I appoint Amos Eaton, of Troy, professor of 
chemistry and experimental philosophy, and lecturer on geol- 
ogy, land surveying, and the laws regulating town officers and 
jurors. This office to he denominated the senior professorship. 

Order 4. I appoint Lewis C. Beck, of Albany, professor of 
mineralogy, botany and zoology, and lecturer on the social 
duties peculiar to farmers and mechanics. This office to he 
denominated the junior professorship. 

Order 5. The first term is to commence on the first Mon- 
day in January next, and to continue fifteen weeks. For ad- 
mission to the course, including the use of the library and read- 
ing-room, each student must pay twenty-live dollars* to the 
treasurer, or give him satisfactory assurances that it will he 
paid in one year. In addition to this, each section of students 
must pay for the chemical substances they consume, and the 
damage they do to apparatus. 

Order G. All the pay thus received by the treasurer, or for 
parts of courses of instruction, is to be paid over to said profes- 
sors as the reward of their services. 

Order 7. In giving the course on chemistry, the students 
are to be divided into sections, not exceeding live in each sec- 
tion. These are not to he taught by seeing experiments and 
hearing lectures, according to the usual method. But they are 
to lecture and experiment by turns, under the immediate direc- 
tion of a professor or a competent assistant. Thus by a term 
of labor, like apprentices to a trade, they are to become opera- 
tive chemists. 

Order S. At the close of the term, each student is to give 
sufficient tests of his skill and science before examiners, to be 

Fees altered — See by-laws, Article 7. 

24C> Berkshire Historical Society. 

appointed by myself, or by the trustees if I do not appoint. 
The examination is not to be conducted by question and 
answer; but the qualifications of students are to be estimated 

by the facility with which they perform experiments and give 
the rationale; and certificates or diplomas are to be awarded 

Order 9. One librarian, or more, to be appointed by the 
professors, will be keeper of the reading room. All who 
attend at the reading room, are to respect and obey the orders 
of the librarian, in regard to the library and conduct while in 
the room. 

Order 10. Any student who shall be guilty of disorderly or 
ungentlenianly conduct, is to be tried and punished by the 
president, or vice-president, and two trustees. The punish- 
ment may extend to expulsion and forfeiture of the school 
privileges, without a release from the payment of fees. But a 
student may appeal from such decision to the board of trustees. 

This instrument, or a copy of it, is to be read to each student 
before he becomes a member of the school ; and he is to be 
made to understand that his matriculation is to be considered 
as an assent to these regulations. 


Albany, Nov. 5, 1824. 

Washington, Feb. 11, 1S25. 

Dear Sir — I offer my acknowledgments for the interest you 
have taken in promoting the school over which you preside. I 
have enclosed a draft, hastily drawn up, of by-laws, for the 
government of the school, which I beg to submit to yourself, 
and the gentlemen associated with you, for consideration and 
amendment. 1 flatter myself that the school will succeed, and 
the advantages I anticipated will be realized. 

With respect, yours sincerely, 




Passed at a Meeting of the President and 
Board of Trustees, 

On the third day of April, 1S2G. 

Article 1. The course of Exercises at said school in the 
Fall Term shall he, as nearly as circumstances will permit, as 
follows: Each student shall give live lectures each week on 
systematic botany, demonstrated with specimens, for the first 
three weeks, and shall either collect, analyze and preserve 
specimens of plants, or examine the operations of artists and 
manufacturers at the school workshops, under the direction of 
a professor or assistant, who shall explain the scientific princi- 
ples upon which such operations depend, four hours on each of 
six days in every week', unless excused by a professor, on ac- 
count of the weather, ill health or other sufficient cause. For 
the remaining twelve weeks, each student shall give fifteen 
lectures on mineralogy and zoology, demonstrated with speci- 
mens; fifteen lectures on chemical powers and substances not 
metallic; fifteen lectures on metalloids, metals, soils, manures 
mineral waters, and animal and vegetable matter — all to he ful- 
ly illustrated with experiments performed with his own hands; 
and shall examine the operations of artists at the school work- 
shops, under the direction of a professor or assistant, four hours 
on every Saturday, unless excused as aforesaid. 

Article 2. During the Winter Term students shall recite 
to a professor, or to a competent assistant, the elements of the 
sciences taught in the fall and spring terms; and shall study 

Appendix. 249 

mid recite, as auxiliary branches in aid of those sciences, rhet- 
oric, logic, geography, and as much mathematics as the faculty 
shall deem necessary for studying land surveying, common 
mensuration, and for performing the common astronomical 

Article o. The course of exercises in the Spring Term 
shall he, as nearly as circumstances will admit, as follows: 
Each student shall, during the iirst six weeks, give ten lectures 
ou experimental philosophy; ten lectures on chemical powers 
and on substances not metallic; and ten lectures on metalloids, 
metals, soils, and mineral waters. For the remainder of the 
term, each student shall be exercised in the application of the 
sciences before enumerated, to the analysis of particular 
selected specimens of soil, manures, animal and vegetable sub- 
stances, ores and mineral waters; and shall devote four hours of 
each day, unless excused by one of the faculty, to the examina- 
tion of operations of the agriculturists on the school farms, to- 
gether with the progress of cultivated grains, grasses, fruit 
trees and other plants, to practical laud surveying and general 
mensuration, to calculations upon the application of water- 
power and steam, which is made to the various machines in the 
vicinity of the schools, and to an examination of the laws of 
hydrostatics and hydrodynamics, which are exemplified by the 
locks, canals, aqueducts and natural waterfalls surrounding the 

Article 4. A candidate may enter as annual student at the 
commencement of either of the terms ; and his course shall he 
considered as completed after attending the three terms, with- 
out regard to the order in which he attends them. Leave of 
absence may be granted by the president to a student for the 
whole or for a part of the recitation term ; provided such 
student, on a thorough examination, satisfy the president that 
he has a competent knowledge of the branches of learning 
mentioned in the second article as studies for the recitation 
term, or give satisfactory assurances that he will study the 
same faithfully elsewhere, during said term, and on his return 
acquit himself satisfactorily at an examination in the same. 
The president shall have power, also, to excuse a candidate at 


Bevhshire IMstovicul /Society. 

the time of his initiation, from all the duties of the recitation 
term, if, on thorough examination, he is found to possess a 
competent knowledge of the studies of that term- the degree 

of Bachelor of Arts, from any regular college, shall he deemed 
sufficient evidence of such knowledge. J hit leave of absence 
shall not be granted to any student for any part of either of 
the experimental terms, without a special and very important 
reason, to be satisfactorily shown to the president. And in 
such case the time of absence shall not exceed one week in a 
term; and the student so indulged shall attend, with another 
section, to all the experiments and other demonstrations which 
his section passed through in his absence, without loosing any 
time from his duties with his own section. No candidate shall 
be admitted as annual student under the age of seventeen years, 
nor without giving evidence of a mind disciplined to study. 

Article 5. The annual examination shall begin so many days 
before the Sabbath preceding the day of commencement, as to 
leave one day for every live students who are to be examined. 
The examination shall be public, each student giving tests of his 
qualifications, by short experimental lectures. On being found 
suiHciently skilled as an experimenter, and competent to give 
rationale and applications in a satisfactory manner, he will be 
admitted to the first Rensselaer degree, to be denominated 
Bachelor of Arts in Rensselaer School. By this it is 
intended to imply, that he has been a successful learner in said 
school in the application of science to the arts. After the 
expiration of three years from the date of the aforesaid degree, 
or one year, if he attends a second annual course at said school, 
if it is made to appear that he has sustained a good moral 
character, and has continued to advance in the pursuits of 
scientific knowledge, he will be admitted to the second Rens- 
selaer degree, to be denominated Master ok Arts in Rensse- 
laer School. By this it is intended to imply, that his experi- 
ence in the application of science to the arts, has qualified him 
in a higher degree to take the charge of the instruction of 
others, and to give profitable counsel to the artist and to the 
agriculturist. The abbreviations standing for Bachelor or 
Master of Arts shall not be used by him without R. 8. The 

Appendix. 25 1 

feus to l)o paid to the president for conferring either of said de- 
grees, is tour dollars; the secretary is to receive from him, also, 
fifty cents for applying the soul, and the amount of the ex- 
pense of the parchment and of the plate printing. A Rensse- 
laer degree shall not he conferred upon any person under the 
age of eighteen years. 

Article G. Every person, after receiving a Rensselaer de- 
gree, shall ever after remain perpetual member of Rensselaer 
school, until lie shall resign or he expelled for misconduct, and 
shall he entitled to the right of attending lectures and the read- 
ing room free of all charges. And the trustees shall have a 
right, at any time, to call upon him, by letter or otherwise, 
whether his residence shall he in the United States or in a 
foreign country, and demand of him an explanation of what- 
ever they deem immoral or dishonorable conduct. On his 
neglecting or refusing to exonerate himself from the charges, 
he shall he expelled. It shall he the duty of every person 
while a member, to give notice to the trustees, at least once in 
three years, how he is employed, and what success has attended 
his scientific labors, and what scientific discoveries he has made. 
And it shall he the duty of the trustees to aid every worthy 
industrious member in procuring him merited patronage. 

Article 7. Each student shall pay the treasurer fifteen 
dollars, as lees for instruction for each of the experimental 
terms, and six dollars for the recitation term, on his initiation 
into the school ; or secure the payment in one year, lie shall 
also pay for all the articles of apparatus, Arc. which he breaks 
or destroys, and for all the chemical substances he comsumes 
in his experiments, and his proportion of the expense of fuel 
and lights for the lecturing and reading rooms, and for the 
services of the monitor. 

Article S. It shall be the duty of the professors to make 
weekly reports to the president, (whose duty it is to visit the 
school once in each week,) setting forth the progress of each 
division of the school, with an account of the moral conduct of 
the students, of their manner of spending the Sabbath, and of 
their punctuality in attendance upon their respective duties ; a 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

summary of which the president si ml 1 lay before the trustees, 

at their annual meeting in April. 

Article 9. In addition to the meetings of the hoard of 
trustees fixed by law, and those to be notified bv the president, 
there shall he an annual meeting of said board at the school on 
the day of commencement, to wit: on the last Wednesday in 
June, at ten o'clock in the morning. 

Article 10. The lades and by-laws heretofore made by this 
board, having- been intended for the temporary government of 
the school in its incipient state, are to he considered as void and 
of no further eil'eet, after the last Wednesday of April instant. 

Article 11. All further rules and orders, necessary for the 
internal government of the school, including temporary changes 
in the order of exercises, may he made, temporarily, by the 
faculty of said school, to remain in force during the pleasure of 
the board of trustees. The faculty consists of the president 
and professors; whose orders shall he strictly obeyed by the 
students. It shall be the duty of the faculty to appoint, from 
among the students and resident graduates, a suitable number 
of assistants, who shall faithfully execute their respective duties, 
and to change them from time to time; and for the time being 
each assistant shall be respected and obeyed by the students 
under his care. The faculty are also authorised to appoint a 
school steward and monitor, with such privileges and duties as 
may by them be deemed expedient. 

By Order of the Hoard. 

8. BLATC1IFORD, President. 

Moses 1 1 ale," Secretary. 


Board in the commons, procured by the steward, amounts to about $1.50 
per week. 

Expenses for chemical substances and damages to apparatus depend on 
the student's own care and prudence. They ought not to exceed two or 
three dollars for each term. 

The expenses for fuel and lights will be much reduced by the late law, 
establishing fall and spring experimental terms, and omitting experi- 
ments during the cold seasons of winter. 



The expenses for ;i student of ordinary prudence will be about $100, if 
he is absent during the winter term. See By-laws, Article 1, 

Board, 30 weeks, at $1.50 $45.00 

Washing about 18 cents per week, 5.02 

Chemical substances &c. about 4.00 

Proportion of fuel and lights, about 0.00 

Text books, about 400 

Experimental term fees $15, 150.00 

Total— $94.02 

It will be perceived by a perusal of the foregoing constitution and laws, 
that this school is not the rival of any other. It is even dependent mi 
other schools for the literary polish of its own pupils. It promises nothing 
but experimental science, taught by a method which perpetually throws 
the student upon his own mental resources. Its object is single and uni- 
que ; and nothing is taught at the school, but those branches which have a 
direct application to the " business of living." 

Parents who have not governed their sons at home, and inspired them 
with the principles of sound morality and the spirit, of gentlemen, are re- 
speetfully requested not to send them here. For the experimental exercises 
of the school resemble the business of a workshop, in which professors 
must labor with students, and associate with them as one gentleman stsso- 
ciates with another. Consequently students cannot be subjected to that 
course of discipline, which is practicable at schools organized upon a dif- 
ferent plan. No alternative is left for this school but to expel for disorder- 
ly or ungentlemanly conduct in a peremptory manner ; however desirable 
it might be to bear with the waywardness of youth, until reformation 
might be effected by a course of wholesome discipline. 


Announcement of a Preparation Branch, 1X26. 

PllEPA tl 1 tjon ml 1 m 'II 
Recently established at RENSSELAER SCHOOL. 

From a respect for the frequent solicitations oi' many gentlemen in the 
Southern States, and of some in the Northern, and from a desire expressed 
by the patron, to see the results of an extension of his plan, a preparation 
bnuicli was this day established at this school, to go into operation on t he- 
third Wednesday in November. 

The follmoinr/ is an outline, of the Plan. 

1. The original method of instruction which has produced such unex- 
pected results, called the Renssclaerean method, will he extended to this 
branch ; to wit, that of exercising the student, on the forenoon of each 
day, by causing him to give an extemporaneous disxertalion or lecture on the 
subject of his course, from concise written memoranda ; and to spend the 
afternoon in scholastic amusements. 

2. The circle of instruction is divided info live parts ; and to each part 
is attached a course of summer and wilder afternoon amusements. The 
following order will be observed in the fall and winter terms. In the spring 
term it will be inverted. 

First Division. Botany and Etymology. (The latter branch will ex- 
tend to so much knowledge of the structure of the Latin, Greek, and 
French languages, as will enable the student to trace scientific terms to 
their themes, which arc derived from those languages ) Amiskmknts. 
For summer. Collecting and preserving minerals, plants and insects. For 
winter none, as this division will not be studied in the winter. 

Second Derision. Geography and History. Amusements. For sum- 
mer. Selecting specimens for illustrating the physiology of vegetation, 
and examining them under the common, and the solar microscopes, and 
making drawings of their internal structure. For winter. Each making 
a globe of plaster of Paris, and drawing the chief subjects of geography 
upon if. 

Third Division. Elements of practical mathematics and of .moral 
philosophy. Amusements. For summer. Land surveying, taking the 
latitude, and performing simple hydraulic experiments. For winter. 
Making and using a set of mechanical powers, exercises in percussion with 
suspended balls, gauging, measuring cordwood and timber. 

Fourth, lUoision. Logic and Rhetoric Amusements. F 'or summer. 
Experimenting upon the most common gases, as oxygen (obtained from 

Appendix. 255 

vegetables by the action of light) nitrogen, hydrogen, carbonic acid (with 
its combination in soda-water) testing their specific gravities, Ac. ami ex- 
perimenting upon aqueous exhalations— all to he performed with apparatus 

made with their own hands. For winter. Making and using galvanic 
batteries and piles, electrometers and magnets ; and disengaging combined 
calorie by compression and allinily. 

Fifth Division. Elementary principles of government and law, and 
PAitLiAMENTARY kui.ics. Amusements. For apriny and fall. Construct- 
ing dials, fixing meridians, constructing and using air-thermometers and 
hygrometers, taking specific gravities, using the blow-pipe and construct- 
ing the three elementary musical chords to illustrate the science of tones. 
For winter. Making camera obscura ooxes ; producing focal images by a 
pair of common burning glasses and ice lenses, and illustrating the micro- 
scope and telescope by the same ; illustrating the laws of refraction and 
rellection by cheap mirrors and vessels of water, and separating the col 
cured rays by ice cut into triangular prisms. 

Candidates are admitted to the preparation branch, who are deemed of 
sufficient discretion forgoing through the course, provided they have been 
successfully taught in reading, writing, common arithmetic and English 
grammar. The Faculty of Rensselaer School are Lo judge upon their qual- 
ifications ; but the Trustees have, in the second article of the by laws of 
this branch, expressed an opinion, that "the age of thirteen or fourteen 
years and upwards, is best adapted to this course." 

Excises. Tuition $1 .50 cents for every three weeks, which consti- 
tutes a step in the circle. Students may enter either step in the circle at 
the commencement of every three weeks, reckoning from the beginning of 
each term. The terms or sessions of this branch, correspond with the other 
terms of the School. Board, in commons with the other students, never 
to exceed $1.50 per week. Rooms will be furnished at or near the school, 
to be under the inspection and controul of the faculty, at a small expense. 
No charge is made for the use of public rooms, library, chemical and phil- 
osophical apparatus, tools of the workshop, or the cabinet. And each stu- 
dent will attend the daily lectures of the Professors, free of charges. A 
student of strict prudence, may pay all his expenses for the 42 weeks in 
each year, at this branch, with $120, as follows : Tuition, $21 ; board, $0;> ; 
fuel and lights, §10; washing and lodging, $10 ; text books, $0 ; amuse- 
ment apparatus, $10. 

As this circular may fall into the hands of some who have not read the 
new code of by-laws, passed April 13d, 1820, and the legislative act of in- 
corporation, passed March 21st, 1820, it may be advisable to state as fol- 
lows : 

The Rensselaer School was founded by the Honorable Stephen Van 
Rensselaer, solely for the purpose of affording an opportunity to the 
farmer, the mechanic, the clergyman, the lawyer, the physician, the mer- 
chant, and in short, to the man of business or of leisure, of any calling 
whatever, to become practically scientific. Though the branches which are 
not taught here arc held in high estimation, it is believed that a school at- 

250 uevhshire 1 7 'ixlortcal Society. 

tempting every thing, makes proficients in nothing. The Rensselaer 
School, therefore, is limited to an EXPERIMENTAL COUltSE in the NATURAL 
Sciences. The studies of the preparation branch are extended no farther 

than is necessary, as auxiliaries to the experimental 

The FALL term commences on the third Wednesday in July, and con- 
tinues 15 weeks. 

The WINTER TERM commences on the third Wednesday in November, 
and continues 12 weeks. 

The spring TERM commences on the first Wednesday in March, and con- 
tinues until the last Wednesday in June- ; which is the day of the annual 

Expenses. All the same as in the preparation branch, with the addi- 
tion of double the charge for tuition in the fall and spring terms, on ac- 
count of the great additional labor required for teaching the student to 
perform with his own hands about sixteen hundred experiments in chem- 
istry and natural philosophy. But students who have gone through a 
course in the preparation branch with success, will not be required to at- 
tend the winter term. This will reduce the necessary expenses to about 
$95 for the whole experimental course. 

Many unsuccessful attempts have been made to render science amusing 
to the youthful mind. They have generally proved very unprofitable, by 
diverting the attention of the student from literary pursuits, and by cre- 
ating an attachment to useless, and often demoralizing sports. By the 
plan adopted at this school, the objections to scholastic amusements are 
effectually obviated ; and it will appear by this circular that those have 
been selected which will give due exercise to both body and mind. The 
muscular powers of the body will be called into action, and their forces 
will be directed by mental ingenuity, until the student becomes familiar 
with the most important scientific manipulations, and particularly with 
those which will be most useful in the common concerns of life. 

The Kensselaerean scheme for communicating scientific knowledge had 
never been attempted on either continent until it was instituted at this 
school, two years ago. Many indeed mistook it, at first, for Fellenherg's 
method ; but its great superiority has now been satisfactorily tested by its 
effects. As the experimental school, as well as the preparation, branch, were 
founded solely for the public benefit by its disinterested patron, it is the 
particular desire of the trustees that its excellencies should be understood 
and imitated at other schools, as set forth in a former circular. Like other 
useful inventions, much expense was required for making the first exper- 
iment. Fortunately for science, the trial has been fairly made at the ex- 
pense of many thousands, advanced by a single individual. Now it may 
be followed, in its chief advantages, by every school district ; while the 
parent school at Troy will prepare competent teachers. 

By order of the Trustees. 

Rensselaer School, Troy, {N. Y.,) Sept. L',, ls..'C. 


Appendix. 257 



Hon. Stephen Van Rensselaer, with the power to appoint all Examiners. 


Surveyor (jien. S. Do Witt and Prof. T. It. Beck, of Albany- lion. J. D. Dickinson and 
lion. It. P. Hart, of Troy— BeV. Dr. Blatchford and E. Pnrmclec, Esquire, of Lansing 
burgh— Hon. G. Van Sehoonhovenand Hon. .J. Cramer, of Waterford. 


Rev. S. Blatchford, President.— A. Eaton, Sen. Prof.- L. C. Peek, Jun. Prof. 


Dr. Moses Hale, See'ry.— Mr. IP N. Lockwood, Trcas. — T. Dwight Eaton, Monitor 
and Librarian.— Asabel Gilbert, Steward.— Cyrus A. Lockwood, Esquire, Acting 





Troy, N. Y., October 14, 1835. 

[Beintf the answer to letters of inquiry.] 

Hon. STEPHEN VAN RENSSELAER, Patron, with the right to ap- 
point the Annual Board of Examiners. 


Rev. E. NOTT, D. D., President— also President of Union College. 

Judge DAVID BUEL, Jr., Vice President. 

AMOS EATON, Senior Professor, and Professor of Civil Engineering ; 
also holding the Agency and Supervision of the Institute. 

EBENEZER EMMONS, Junior Professor. 

JAMES HALL, Professor of Chemistry and Physiology. 

Assistants — Edward Suffern and D. S. S'malley. 

Instruction, wholly practical, illustrated by Experiments and Specimens, is 
given J t weeks in each year. Five days in each week the forenoon exercises 
are from 8 A. M. to 1 P. M. 

Winter Session commences the third Wednesday in November, and 
continues 1G weeks. During the first 12 weeks, each forenoon is devoted 
to practical Mathematics, Arithmetical and Geometrical. This is a most 
important course for men of business, young and old. During the last 4 
weeks of the Winter Term, extemporaneous Speaking on the subjects of 
Logic, Rhetoric, Geology, Geography, and History, is the forenoon exer- 
cise. Throughout the whole session the afternoon exercises are Composi- 

258 Berkshire Historical Society. 

tion, and, in fair weather, exercises in various Mathematical Arts. A 
course of Lectures on National and Municipal Law, is given by the Senior 

Summer Session commences on the last Wednesday in April, and con 
tinnes 24 weeks; ending with Commencement. 
Students of lite Natural Science Department </re instructed asfolloios : 
Three weeks, wholly practical Botany, with specimens. 
Four weeks, Zoology, including organic remains ; and Physiology, in. 
eluding the elements of Organic Chemistry. 

Three and a half weeks, Geology and Mineralogy, with specimens. 
Three weeks, traveling between Connecticut River and Schoharie; Kill, 
for making collections to be preserved by each student, and exhibited at 
examinations; also for improving in the knowledge of Natural History 
and Mathematical Arts. 
Ten weeks, Chemistry and Natural Philosophy. 
Half a week, preparing for examination and Commencement. 
The afternoons of all fair days are devoted to Surveying, Engineering, 
and various Mathematical Arts — also to Mineralizing, Botanizing, and to 
collecting and preserving subjects in Zoology. 

Student* <>f the Engineer Corps are instructed asfollmos: 
Eight weeks, in learning the use of Instruments; as Compass, Chain, 
Scale, Protractor, Dividers, Level, Quadrant, Sextant, Barometer, Hy- 
drometer, Hygrometer, Pluviometer, Thermometer, Telescope, Microscope, 
&c, with their applications to Surveying, Protracting, Leveling, calcu- 
lating Excavations and Embankments, taking Heights and Distances, Spe- 
cific Gravity and Weight of Liquids, Degrees of Moisture, Storms, Tem- 
perature, Latitude and Longitude by lunar observations and eclipses. 

Eight weeks, Mechanical Powers, Circles, Conic Sections, construction 
of Bridges, Arches, Piers, Railroads, Canals, running Circles for Rail- 
ways, correcting the errors of long Levels, caused by refraction and the 
Earth's convexity, calculating the height of the Atmosphere by twilight, 
and its whole weight on any given portion of the Earth, its pressure on 
Hills and in Valleys as affecting the height for fixing the lower valve of a 
Pump; in calculating the Moon's distance by its horizontal parallax, and 
the distances of Planets by proportionals of cubes of times to squares of 
. distances. 

Pour weeks, in calculating the quantity of Water per second, &c., sup- 
plied by streams as feeders for Canals, or for turning Machinery ; in cal- 
culating the velocity and quantity effused per second, &c, from Humes 
and various vessels, under various heads ; the result of various acceler- 
ating and retarding forces of water flowing in open race-ways and pipes of 
waterworks, and in numerous miscellaneous calculations respecting Hy- 
drostatics and Hydrodynamics. 

Four weeks, study the effects of Steam and inspect its various applica- 
tions — Wind, as applied to Machinery ; also Electro-Magnetism — inspect 
the principal Mills, Factories, and other Machinery or works which come 
within the province of Mathematical Arts ; also, study as much Geology 

Appendix. 25!) 

as may he required for judging of Rocks and Earth concerned in construc- 

Foes for instruction, including all Lectures, Experiments, &c.; also for 
use of Instruments, Apparatus, Library and Specimens, $1 for each sub 

term of four weeks. No Student received for less than a sub-term, No 
extra charge excepting $8 for the course of Experimental Chemistry, 
where each student gives a course of experiments with his own hands. 

Students furnish their own fuel, light, and text-hooks. Eacli boards 
where he pleases ; but the Professors will aid strangers in the selection of 
boarding houses. A small number of strangers are boarded at the School 
at $2 per week ; they furnishing their own bedding, washing, cVc. 

The Rensselaer degree of Bachelor of Natural Science is conferred on all 
qualified persons of 17 years or upwards. The Rensselaer degree of Civil 
Engineer is conferred on candidates of 17 years and upwards, who are well 
qualified in that department. This power was given to the President, by 
an amendment to the Charter, passed last session of the Legislature. Can 
didates are admitted to the Institute who have a good knowledge of Aritli 
metic and can understand good authors rapidly, and can compose with 
considerable facility. 

After a trial of two seasons, it is found to be inexpedient to enter young 
lads in the regular divisions, before they have sullicient pride of character 
to govern their conduct when preparing for their exercises in the absence 
of a teacher ; arrangements will therefore be made for having a teacher al- 
ways present with them, when they are not in flu; immediate charge of a 
Professor or Assistant. 

Students in any one department have the right to attend one Experi- 
mental Lecture each day in the other departments, free of expense. 

One year is sullicient for obtaining the Rensselaer degree of Bachelor of 
Natural Science, or of Civil Engineer, for a candidate who is well prepared 
to enter. Graduates of Colleges may succeed by close application during 
the 24 weeks in the Summer term. 

Candidates may commence the course at the beginning of any sub-term ; 
but the third Wednesday of November is to be preferred, unless the candi- 
date is a graduate of a regular College, or otherwise well instructed in 
general Mathematics and Literature. In such cases the last Wednesday in 
April is the most suitable time of entering. His theoretical views may 
then be reduced to practice during the Summer course. 

The degree of Master of Arts is conferred after two years of practical 

Gentlemen wishing to learn the outline of the terms of the Rensselaer 
Institute, are requested to pay postage on their letters; and they will 
receive this printed notice. If this appears to be a " narrmo notice" I will 
state that I paid $54.28 in one year in postage for letters on others' busi- 
ness; some for our school course, more for advice about mines, minerals, 

and visionary projects. 


Rensselaer Institute, Troy, Get. 14, 18:55. 




John Eaton, 1 first appears, so far as any records show, as 
taking the freeman's oath 25 May, 1G36. 

His wife, Abigail, aged 35, and two children, Mary, aged 4, 
and Thomas, aged 1, were among the passengers who embarked 
at London in the " Elizabeth and Ann" in April, 1035, and it 
is probable that the husband and father came with them. Abi- 
gail had been the widow of a Dammant, for Jane Dammant, 
aged 9, came with her, and some years later (in 1040) joined 
the church at Dedham, being described as "y e daughter of our 
sister Eaton of y e Xh at Watertowne." In 1037 John Eaton 
removed from Watertown to Dedham, where he was occasion- 
ally chosen to minor town-offices, and where he died 17 Nov., 
1058, having made a will in which he names his wife Abigail, 
son John, and daughters Mary Mason and Abigail, who after- 
wards married Robert Mason, brother of her sister's husband, 
John Mason. 

The son Thomas, who was brought from England in 1035, 
died in 1039, and a son Jacob, born in 1042, died in 1040. 

John,' 2 (b. about 1030, d. perhaps, 1094), lived in Dedham, 
as has the senior line of his descendants to this day. By his 
wife Alice, whose family-name is not known, he had seven 
sons and one daughter ; the dates of their birth are all recorded. 
Only four sons lived to maturity, John, Thomas, William, and 

John 3 (b. 1071, m. Ann Whiting, d. before 1710), was a 
farmer at Dedham. lie had but one son, who bore his own 
name of John. A John Eaton died at Dedham in 1094, but it 
is uncertain whether he was John- or John 3 . 

Thomas 3 (b. 1075, m. Lydia Gray, 1097, d. 174S), settled in 

Appendix. 261 

Woodstock, Conn., but about 1722 removed to A ^li ford. He 
was a blacksmith and fanner, and a man of niucli influence in 
the town where he lived. His children were Thomas, Lydia 
Hannah, Nathaiiael, David, Joshua, Anne, Ebenezer, and Eph- 
raini. Lydia, Hannah, Ebenezer, and Ephraim died unmarried. 
Anne married Seth Johnson of Lebanon, and left one daughters], who married her cousin Josiah Eaton. 

William 8 (b. 1077, m. Mary Starr,* 1704, d. 1718), lived in 
Dedham. His children were William, Mary (Herring), Josiah, 
Sarah (Fuller,) Jeremiah, and Abiel (a daughter). 

Jonathan 15 (b. 1081, m. Lydia Starr, about 1700, d. 1748), 
settled on Quinnebaug river near Killingly, Oonn., and built a 
mill where now stands the village of Putman. lie was the 
lirst deacon of the Church at Thompson, Oonn. lie was 
greatly respected by his neighbors, and is the only grandson of 
John 1 whose gravestone can be seen today, lie had seven 
daughters and four sons. Their names were Lydia (Chandler), 
Keziah (Cleveland), Alice (Leavens), Susanna, Jerusha, Hannah 
(Johnson), Jonathan, John, Penelope, Comfort (a sou), and 

We find then in the fourth generation twelve men of the 
family, all married and all blessed with children. 

John 4 (b. 1095, m. 1729 Elizabeth, dan, of Robert Lovering, 
d. 1770), lived on the ancestral estate in Dedham, and had 
sons John, llobert, Thomas, Isaac, and Joseph, and daughters 
Elizabeth (Ruggles), Abigail (Whiting), Sarah (Dana and [2d] 
Dean), and Alice (Draper), all of whom lived to he married. 
Of the sons, John 5 lived at Dedham, had two sons and live 
daughters; the two sons, John and Luther, are still represented 
by families living in Dedham. Robert went to Warwick, 
Mass., and had one daughter only, Mrs. Mary Dexter Marsh. 
Thomas removed to Boston, where some of his descendants now 
reside. Isaac lived in Dedham, and died in 1822, leaving two 

♦Mary and Lydia Starr were daughters of Comfort Stair, and Lydia (Jay 
was his nieee, the daughter of Lydia Starr. The mother of Comfort and 
Lydia Starr was Martha Bunker, daughter of George Bunker of Charles - 
town, who was owner of the top of " that hill of glory" called by his name. 
[See " History of the Starr Family " ]. 


Berkshire Historical /Society. 

sons and a daughter. Joseph lived also in Dedliam; lie had 
two daughter*}, one of whom married Richard Oolburn of 

Thomas 1 (sou of Thomas, 3 b. 1098, m. Elizabeth Parker, 
1721, d. about 1773), settled in Tolland, Conn., about L721, 
and had ten children, Thankful (Skill), .John, Thomas, Jaeob, 
Joseph, Benjamin, Ebenezer, Elizabeth (Skill), Moses, and 
Aaron. John remained in Tolland, or near it. Thomas, 
Jacob, Joseph, and Benjamin all went to Kent about 1757 or 
'58, but left in later years and died in the State of New York,* 
where most of their numerous descendants are still to be found, 
though one branch of Joseph's family remains in Kent to this 
day, and the largest branch of Jacob's family lives in Canada. 
Ebenezer lived in Ashford among his cousins. Some of his 
descendants live in Chenango Co., N. V., and others farther 
west; a few are in Manchester, Vermont. Aaron perished in 
the ill-fated expedition to Havana, and Moses died in childhood. 

Natiianael 4 (son of Thomas,' 3 b. 1704, m. 1727, Esther, dan. 
of Capt John Barry, d. 1785), lived in Ashford, Conn. His 
wife bore him fifteen children, eight sons and seven daughters; 
of these, live sons and three daughters had families, most of 
the others dying in infancy. The married sons were Nathaniel, 
the father of General William Eaton, Calvin, Elijah (the first, 
probably, of all the Eatons to go to New York State), John, 
and Abel.)- The three daughters who attained womanhood 
were Esther (Clark), Ann (Bicknell), and Lydia, who m. 1st, 
David Utter, and 2d, Jeremiah Springsted. 

♦Thomas in. Aseuath Cady, had children Ascnath, Lochia,' Ephrahn, 

James, and Eleazar Many of the family now reside in Onondaga, Co., 

N. Y. 

Jacob settled near Mt. Sinai, Long Island, N. Y ., in. Jane Robinson, had 
Jacob, Isaac, James, Thomas, Benjamin, Joseph, Patty, Mary, and Calvin, 
besides three who died young. 

Joseph's children were Jerusha, Joseph, Moses, Thankful, Stephen, 
Hannah, Jerusha 2d, Lucy, Beulah, Betsey, Aaron, Lemuel, Asahcl, ami 
Thomas. Some of the family are still living in Onondaga Co., N. V. 

Benjamin m. Hepsibah [Skill'?), had Elizabeth, Chloe, Calvin, Thank- 
ful, Jacob, Lemuel, Lois, Jerusha, Joshua, Dinnnis, Benjamin, Molly, and 
Hepsibah. They settled in Herkimer Co., N. Y. 

fAbel Eaton settled in Columbia Co., N. Y.. was Deacon of the Church 
and Captain of the 1st company of Militia. His oldest sou was Professor 
Amos Eaton of Troy, N. Y., the Geologist and Botanist Professor Eaton 
was the father of the late General Amos B. Eaton, U. S. A., whose only 
son is the writer of this report. 

Appendix. 'HY.\ 

David' (sod of Thomas, 8 b. 1700, d. about 1777), also lived 
in Asliford. He married three times, 1st, Dinali Davis, 2d, 
Bethiali Tiffany, 3d, Patience Kendall, and had thirteen child- 
ren. The married sons were Josiah, Ephraim, David (great- 
grandfather to lion. Dorman B. Eaton), Asa, Ezekiel, Simeon, 
and James. Josiah and Ezekiel remained in Connecticut ; 
the others settled to the northward, James going to Springfioldj 
David to JIanover, N. II., and Ephraim, Simeon, ami Asa to 
Vermont. The daughters were three sueeessive Marys, Sarah, 
and Anne. 

Joshua 4 (b. 1709, m. Ann Woodcoek. 1787, d. 1785), brother 
of Thomas, Nathaniel and David, lived in Ashford. lie left 
one son and a daughter. The daughter, Mehitabel, married 
Win. Knowlton. The son, Samuel, had several sons, Phile- 
mon, Cyril, Charles, Roswell, Erastns, Samuel, and Charles, also 
daughters Abigail and Chloe, most of whom settled in the 
interior of the State of New York. 

The sons of William 3 of Dedham were three, William, Josiah, 
and Jeremiah. 

William 4 (b. 1705, m. Abigail Bracket, 1738, d. 1751), re- 
mained in Dedham. His only son, William had several sons, 
who setited first near Rome, N. Y., but subsequently seattered 
throughout the State. It is within the last year that this 
branch of the family has been found and identified. One 
member of it, lion. Augustus T. Eaton, is now Mayor or 
President of the village of (Mean, N. Y., and is working up 
for us the history of his immediate kinsfolk. Another was a 
distinguished portrait painter, Mi*. Joseph O. Eaton, who died 
a few years ago at Yonkers, N. Y. 

Josiah 4 (b. 1711, m. Sarah Day, 1730. d. 1802), settled in 
Needham, Mass., where lie had ten children. The sons who 
had families were Ebenezer, John, Jonathan, and William. 
Ebenezer lived in Westminister, Mass.; John was one of the 
early settlers of Gardner, Mass. ; Jonathan also settled in 
Gardner, but his family is extinct; and William remained at 
Needham. One of William's sons, Josiah, born in 1807, is 
with us today, and is one of the very few living representatives 
of the sixth generation of the Eatons of Dedham. The 


fiwktsliire Ilitstoricul Society. 

daughters were Sarah (Kingsbury), l'eulah, Silence, and Mercy 

Jeremiah 4 (1). 1716, in. Elizabeth Woodcock, 1751, <1. about 
1780-90), went to Needham with his brother Josiah, and had 
four sons and four daughters. Three of the daughters died 
young women. The youngest one, Alice, marrried Ebenezer 
Ware of Hancock, N. I.I.. and her brothers also removed to 
Hancock. Of these, the oldest, Jeremiah, was an old bachelor; 
the others, Moses, Lemuel, and Samuel, all had families, and 
many of their descendants are now among the most prominent 
citizens of Hancock and neighboring towns. 

Deacon Jonathan's four sons remained at Killingly for 
some years after their father's death, two of them running the 
old mill a good while ; hut at last they all moved away. 

Jonathan 1 (horn 1721, in. Sarah (Johnson?) about 1747, d. 
1775), the oldest, removed about 1700 to Adams, in western 
Massachusetts. He had sons Aimer, Jonathan, Alpheus, Syl- 
vanus, and Parley, and daughters Penelope, Sarah (Johnson), 
Hannah (Sherwood) and Diadama (Iloldridge). Abner settled 
in Underwood, Vermont. Jonathan died unmarried. Abner 
went to Saratoga Co., N. Y., where two of his daughters, now 
over SO years of age, still reside. Sylvanus went to Schoharie 
(Jo., N. Y., thence to Cambridge, Vt., and thence to Gerry, 
Chautauqua Co., N. Y. His sons were men of sterling worth ; 
one is still living in Rochester, Minn. ; one is a farmer in Alle- 
tmn, Co., Michigan ; another was a iudiic of a circuit-court in 
Wisconsin ; another a farmer in Vermont, and another a 
sheriff in Michigan. 

John 1 (b. 1724, m. Hannah Johnson, d. 17SS), also removed 
to Adams, Mass., but died while on a visit to a son in Herki- 
mer, Co., N. Y. He had live sons, John, Elisha, AVyman, 
Rufus, and Comfort, and six daughters, Rhoda (Pucklin), 
Esther (Richardson), Lydia (Richmond), Keziah (Knapp), 
Mehitabel (Benchley),and llannah(Brown). The sons all settled 
in Herkimer Co.,N.Y., and were men of character and influence. 

Errata: — p. 0. The youngest son of Samuel son of Joshua i was named 
Ralph, not Charles, p. 7. Of the sons of Jonathan", Abner settled in 
Underbill, Vermont: if was AlpllCUS who went to Saratoga Co , N. Y. 

Appendix. 205 

Some members of the family still live in Herkimer 

Co. , but most of them have moved away, and they are now 
found all the way from Glean, N. Y., to Nebraska. Several 
of them have been Baptist clergymen of considerable eminence, 
one was a chaplain in the U. S. Navy, and to one, Rev. Zelora 
Eaton, we are indebted for his having written out fifty years 
ago what lie knew of the family history. 

Comfort 4 (b. 1729, m. Mehitabel Whitmore, 1771, d. un- 
known), had four daughters, Abigail, Hannah, Abigail 2d and 
Sarah, and one son. Very little is known of this family, but it 
is thought that they removed from Killingly to somewhere in 
Vermont. Rev. Zelora Eaton preserved a tradition that Com- 
fort Eaton, whether the father or the son I can not tell, drove 
a herd of cattle to Boston, sold them, had a hat full of silver 
dollars, and was never heard from again. 

Marston 4 (b. 1731, m. Elizabeth Lyon, 1762, d. 1770), the 
youngest son of the Deacon, removed to Belchertown, Mass., 
in 1770, and died there very soon after his arrival. lie had 
three sons and one daughter, Walter, Rufus, Marson and 
Elizabeth. Descendants are now living at Worcester, Amherst, 
Northampton, Providence and Cincinnati. 

The living descendants of John Eaton of Dedham are many 
thousands, and probably nearly two thousand of these inherit 
the name of Eaton. The number of distinguished men whose 
ancestry can be traced to this John Eaton is very considerable, 
find includes those win; have made their mark in the pulpit, at 
the bar, in war, medicine, business, politics, literature, art, and 
science ; but these particulars must be left to the more extended 
History of the family. When this History may appear must 
largely depend on the promptness with which the living mem- 
bers of the family may reply to the letters of the compiler. 
Most of the names in the sixth generation are known, but there 
are many persons in the seventh, eighth and ninth generations, 
of whom no record has yet been received. 

John and Robert Mason, who married the daughters of John 
Eaton, 1 had several sons and daughters, born at Dedham or at 
Mediicld. No attempt has yet been made to trace their 


Autiioritiks Consulted. 

Durfco's History of Williams College. 

Durfee's Biographical Annals of Williams College. 

Wiese's History of Troy, N. Y. 

Ricketts' History of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. 

JMason's Biographical Record of Rensselaer Institute. 

Silliman's Journal. 

Silliman's Tour. 

American Journal of Science. 

Barnard's Life of Stephen Van Rensselaer. 

Dana's Taconic System. 

Braiuard's Marble Border of Western New England. 

Annual Register Rensselaer Pol. Inst. 

Partial Record of Graduates of Pol. Inst. 

Annual Catalogues of Pol. Inst. 

Catalogues of Williams College. 

Catalogue of Oastleton, Vt., Medical Institute. 

Pamphlets relating to Rensselaer Institute by Eaton. 

Annals of Albany. 

Cyclopedia of American Biography. 

Files of North American Review. 

Natural History of New York, 10 volumes. 

Education in the United States. 

Files of New England Magazine. 

Files of Troy weekly papers. 

Proceedings of Semi-Centennial Celebration of Rensselaer 
Polytechnic Inst., Troy, 1875. 

Field's History of Berkshire County. 

Mas. in Williams College Library. 

Personal letters from Prof Daniel C. Ealon, of Yale; Mr. A. 
T. Woodward ; Prof II. B. Nason, of Troy ; Professor Palmer 
C. Ricketts, and Hon. Martin I. Townsend, of Troy ; W. W. 

Appendix. 207 

Bailey, Prov., R. L; Mr. Walter Deane, of Cambridge, Mass.; 
Rev. Addison Ballard, N. Y. City ; and Prof. T. Nelson Dale, 
of Williams College. 

Emmons Manual of Mineralogy, Troy, 1826. 

Mrs. Lincoln's Botany. 

Gray's Manual of Botany. 

Geology of the Green Mts. in Mass., by Pumpelly, Wolff, 
and Dale, Wash., 1894. 

Memorial of Mt. Ilolyoke Seminary. 

Life of Mary Lyon, by Hitchcock. 

Sketch of Amos Eaton, in Pop. Sc. Monthly, Nov. 1800. 

The Eatons of Dover, England ; and The Dedham Eatons, 
by D. C. Eaton. 

Works of Amos Eaton, 40 volumes. 


The Second President oe the Berkshire His- 
torical and Scientific Society. 




The first town east from Williamstown, once t lie Uoosac 
Mountain, is Charlemont, twelve miles long and one mile in 
width, lying on both banks of the Deerfield River, its shape 
resembling a wasp, which rather infringes upon the definition 
of a town in the geography of my young days , which described 
a town to be six miles square. 

1 asked Gustavus White, a young brother of Joseph, a man 
of strong mind and retentive memory, what gave the town such 
a queer shape, and the following was his version, most of which 
he said is a matter of record. 

During the American revolution the town had a settled 
minister, wdio is nameless in this paper, whom the inhabitants 
had strong suspicion, if not positive proof was a Tory, and they 
not only would not hear him preach, but locked the meeting- 
house against him. The old parson would go to the meeting- 
house every Sunday morning, stand on the steps a while then 
return home. 

His salary did not forth come, which yielded him his bread 
and butter. Being at the time of the union of church and 
state, he sued the town to collect his salary, and attached the 
cows of a man by the name of Grimes, " being that good old 
man not yet dead," which the law give him a right to do, and 
the town had to make the individual thus subjected to attach" 
ment good. 

Grimes having a large family of children wanted the milk of 
his cows for his babies. Asking the parson to give them up to 
• him, the parson's reply was : "You must look to the town." The 
next spring when the river was full bank and frozen over, the 
parson attempted to cross over on the ice with his horse, the ice 
giving away precipitated him into the water. Grimes happen- 
ing to stand on the bank of the river, at the time of the parson's 
mishap, he appealed to Grimes for help. Grimes' answer was 



Bwhahire Tfistovicul Society. 

"You must look to the town." The parson must have? reached 
the hauls of the river safely, though somewhat wet from his 

The inhabitants of the town were in a quandary how to get 
freed from their Tory parson. Having many men among them 
of fertile minds they decided on the following plan : When the 
town of Heath was set oil' from the town of ( aiarlemont, they 
owned the line around the old parson's house and set him and 
his house oil" into the town of Heath, which is the secret of the 
shape of the town of Charlemont. 

in this queer shaped town of Charlemont Joseph White was 
horn on the 1.8th day of November, 1811, the eldest of three 
boys, sons of Joseph and Rebecca Rice White. In his baby- 
hood an accident happened to him, which marred the child's 
beauty, and came very near ending his life. The cradle in 
which he was sleeping, near the open lire, was accidentally 
over-turned and his forehead came in contact with the live 
coals, leaving a scar which he carried the remainder of his life, 

in this town of Charlemont, lying in the beautiful valley of 
the Deeriield, Joseph White spent his youth, and its people he. 
came very dear to him. lie attended thedistrict school, and roamed 
up and down the banks of the river with his fishing rod, which 
was not fashioned or polished like the jointed fishing rods of 
the present day, hut cut and trimmed, out of the primitive 
forest ; and over the hills and mountains, that to this day stand 
guard over that pleasant fertile valley. This constituted part 
of the athletics of his boyhood, which give him that stalwart 
manly form, which commanded the admiration of those who 
saw and knew him in the prime of his manhood. 

Moving and acting among a people of strong minds and wills, 
he had no practical knowledge of the world lying over and be- 
yond the mountains which bounded his vision, though he 
doubtless read of it, for he was fond of books and reading. 

When four years old lie read through all the books of the 
New Testament and in after years he devoured all the hooks of 
interest and profit that came within his reach. And he reached 
out continually for them and gathered them in. 

In 1827 he came over the mountain, horseback, to attend the 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

kins to the Presidency of the college. After graduation Mr, 

White read law in the office of Martin 1. Townsend of Troy, 
N.Y. In 1839 he was appointed tutor in Williams College 
which position he held till the summer of 1840. During his 

tutorship lie boarded at my father's and tutored my younger 
sister and was her instructor ever after, and carried her through 
a college course in all the studies excepting Greek. 

In 18-iO he married Hannah M. Danforth of Williamstown, 

and entered into partnership with his brother-in-law, lion. 
Abrarn 13. Olin, in the practice of the law at Troy, N. Y. and 

the sisters lived together in one family till ISIS, when Mr. 
White was appointed superintendent and financial agent of the 
Massaehusetts Cotton Mills at Lowell, Mass, where he resided 
till 1800. In 1S5S he was appointed Bank Commissioner, and 
in 1851), when he was appointed treasurer of Williams College, 
lie purchased of Charles A. Stoddard, the Daniel Noble house 
and property and came to Williamstown and resided there up 
to the time of his death. 

In I860 he received the appointment of Secretary of the 
Board of Education, succeeding Gov. Bontwcll, and continued 
in the duties of that office till 1870. Mr. White was a linn 
friend of high schools and secured their establishment in 
many towns, and was strongly opposed to the district system 
and secured its first abolition, and when it was again restored, 
dealt it hard blows which had the effect of its final abandon- 
ment, lie made a strong attempt to have a tax laid which 
would give the sparcely settled and poorer towns of the State 
more income, for their schools, and succeeded in getting the 
act through the House, but it failed in the Senate, lie was a 
sympathizing friend of the teachers and always an advocate of 
advanced instruction. He was closely and widely identified 
with the interests of education, from his youth up. Standing 
in the ranks as a teacher. of a district school, he attained the 
highest in public instruction in the gift of the State, lie 
brought to all his work a liberal progressive spirit. Mr. White 
was appointed a trustee of Williams College the year he went 
to Lowell, and was associated with the College as an active 
trustee forty-two years; also with Smith College from the 

Joseph White. 275 

foundation of the latter institution, being appointed by the 
giver of the funds and frequently consulted by her for the for- 
mation of plans for its advancement. 

The life of Mr. AVhite was not one of sloth or easy self- 
indulgence ; nor was it one of mere self-seeking. He was care- 
ful and saving in personal matters, but lived amply and was 
nobly generous. Few men during the course of a long life, 
held so many important positions and of so varied character 
filling them all with ability, exerting on each an influence 
healthful and lasting. 

lie was a natural orator and was an attractive, elegant 
speaker, and his long experience in public life, had given him 
ample opportunity for its practice. In connection with Prof. 
John Bascom he did a good work for the public schools of 
Williamstown, doing away with the district school system, 
building new school houses, consolidating and bringing up the 

He was influential in town affairs, took an active part in 
their management, attending the town meetings when possible, 
exerting an influence for good in them, always advocating good 
roads and good schools, claiming that those were the most im- 
portant things in building up a town that had capabilities. 
Those town meetings at the time the schools and school-house 
question were being discussed were very interesting and in- 
structive and were attended by many of the college students, 
in order to get the benefit of the discussion, being impressed 
with the oratory and close reasoning in the debates. It was not 
a battle of the giants, for the giants were all on one side and 
the right side, which prevailed. Joseph White had two young 
brothers, who lived and died bachelors, living with their wid- 
owed mother during her life, and after her death having their 
rooms in the old homestead. Frederick, the youngest, was 
crippled by a fever^sore when a youth and walked with the aid 
of a cane. lie was very handsome, had a good mind and re- 
tentive memory. Joseph often tried to get him out of the 
town of Oharlemont into a law office, lie was his Benjamin and 
dearly beloved by Joseph and he greatly desired to get him out 
of the vale of Hebron into the land of Egypt; but he was so 


nerJcshire Historical Society. 

very sensitive about hie physical infirmities, lie could not be 
persuaded to leave; his old home and the people whom he knew 
and who knew him, and abide with strangers, lie was a great 
reader and well posted in history and dates of events. And 
Joseph used to say when lie wanted any historical facts that 
didn't readily come to him he would apply to Fred, and he 
would get them, as lie had a mind well stored with useful 
knowledge. He fitted himself for the practice; of law, and 
from his ofHcc in the old house lie counseled the people of Ins 
native town of Charlcmont, and was their town clerk for many 
years, even up to the time of his death. 

'The White homestead had its location sonic distance from 
the river on quite an elevated plateau, a very pleasant loca- 
tion, overlooking the village with a good sized brook leaping 
down from the mountain behind, which was utilized by Joseph's 
father to run, his cloth-dressing mill. After Joseph's mother 
and brothers' death he rented the place for some years. 

A few years before his death he deeded the place to the 
inhabitants of the town of Charlcmont for a site whereon to 
erect a library building for the town. A building has been 
erected and a good part of the large private library of Mr. 
White will eventually he transferred to that building. 

Joseph White, having much land attached to his village 
home, made an attempt at fancy farming, purchased some 
blooded cattle and sheep, visited with his cousin, 0. I>. Potter, 
of New York city, (a Charlcmont boy), his farm of many hun- 
dred acres at Sing Sing, N. V., on which he kept more than a 
hundred cows, and built silos in which to store their winter 
food. Returning home with silo on the br.iinjie built some of 
these storage vaults and purchased machinery for cutting fod- 
der to fill the same. JFe seemed to enjoy it over and above 
the perplexing hours it brought him. But the profits ran 
down hill, following the law of gravitation, and he soon dis- 
covered that farming was not a profitable occupation for him, 
and he sold part of his land and his cattle and sheep, and gave 
up being shepherd of the flocks, and fancy farming for recrea- 
tion. Mr. White had a lovely home, beautifully located on 
Main street, presided over by an even tempered, cheerful, hope- 

Joseph, White. k j!77 

ful wife, proud of her handsome, talented husband. The sharp 
things ho would sometimes say, when irritated would glidu ell' 
as readily as rain drops from a duck's hack. They loved their 
friends and neighbors and entertained them in pleasant gather- 
ings at their home, and to them (he latch-string of their door 
always swung out. Jie was a very social man, and very enter- 
taining and instructive in conversation, drawing from a well 
stored mind things old and new. I knew Mr. While when a 
mere lad and a young man in college, and stood in much 
awe of him then and for years, he was so dignified and learned. 
lie and Mrs. White spent their vacation at our mother's old 
house. I didn't know Mr. White truly till he came to Williams- 
town to live in 1S50 and made it his home. Prom that time to 
his death I was more or less associated with him in hnsiness. 

His appointment as Secretary of the Board of Education kept 
him in his Boston office most of the time, and I took charge of 
his college treasury business from the summer- of 1802 to ISS2, 
and in all those years he treated me with confidence and kind- 
ness, and never uttered a hasty or unkind word to me. 

Often in the last years of his life when he felt age creeping 
upon him, I would take Mrs. Dan forth and spend the evening 
at his house. Sometimes our youngest sister would he there, 
and we talked over the past, and he enjoyed it, and 
when we took our leave he would thank us for coming down. 
Those of you who arc; now present, having your lives spared 
to a good old age, when the cares of hnsiness are laid aside, will 
appreciate the attention paid you by the; young. 1 am getting 
there and the young, look beautiful and attractive and it is a 
pleasure for me to see them and enter into their enjoyment. 

Dr. Hopkins once said to me, when somewhat advanced in 
life. "An old man is not much account." But when he came 
into the Alumni meetings at the college anniversary and walked 
up the aisle of the chapel, all the young graduates would rise 
up and do him honor; you can imagine it to he a beautiful 
scene that qualified the "no account' 1 in his case. Mr. White 
took great interest in poor young men desirous of obtaining an 
education. He had a very bright little office hoy, when in 
Lowell, litted him for college and paid his expenses through, 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

but he failed to meet his expectations after his graduation; and 
lie left funds to aid in educating a little boy whom lie was 
interested in, who is now in Williams College. 

Joseph White was a noble Christian gentleman, line looking, 
genteel, and cultured, was a great reader, loved hooks, and col- 
lected in his life time one of the best private libraries in the 
State. Me was a decided party man hut not a politician, would 
not ffO into a scramble for otlice, believing that office should 
seek the man not man the office, which I believe would prove 
a broken reed in these latter days. He represented the State 
in both branches of the legislature. Ue was sometimes hasty 
in temper but quickly over it, and was as kind and gentle as a 
woman, loved Ins friends, had a thoughtful, forgiving spirit 
and was admired by every one who truly knew him. lie died 
in November, 181)0, in his eightieth year, leaving the wife of 
his youth a widow, but no children. 



i 50 ri 1 Anniversary of Granting the Chartei 

of the Town of Lanesborougii, Mass. 


150111 Anniversary of Granting the Charter of 
the Town of Lanesborough, Mass. 

The first question to be asked respecting any town is, Where 
did it come from? What was its origin? What kind of peo- 
ple were its founders? For, as we well know, each town that 
has any real influence or counts for anything, has a distinct 
individuality which was impressed upon it at the very start. 
This common, corporate life of the town is something which 
has an assimilating power upon all who subsequently come into 
the town. All, more or less, enter into and unconsciously 
absorb that life and become partakers of it. In inquiring as to 
the origin of this town, we find that the first settlers came from 
the general region of Framingham and Natick. Now, what 
was there peculiarly striking about these towns? 

The fact at once arrests our attention that when Mrs. Stowe 
wished to write her great novel on New England life during 
the last Century, she selected as best exhibiting the most typi- 
cal form of that life, this very region of Framingham and Na- 
tick. In all New England there was nothing higher and better 
to be found. 

Forth from this favored region certain of the most enterpris- 
ing and ambitious (impelled by that law, as old as creation, of 
moving westward) determined to go forth to seek for a new 
site to found a new life and a new centre of infinence. 

We may imagine the first explorers sent ahead to find the 
place of the most ideal environment, journeying onward in 
their search till coming to this part of the state recently opened 
to white settlers by the missionary work among the Stoekbridge 
Indians. We may picture them after viewing many localities 
coming at last to the ridge that so divided the waters that they 
How north and south and west, toward the St. Lawrence, the 
Hudson, and Long Island Sound. And as they stood on that 
ridge exactly midway between Springfield and Albany they 



Berkshire Historical Society. 

would exclaim, u Here is a natural centre of diffusive influence." 
As they ascended the surrounding hills and perceived that their 
eyes might rest at will on any one of four states, i in migration 
from all of which might be expected, they would exclaim, 
" Here is a natural centre of receptive influence. Here we may 
expect in after years to arise a life not narrow in range, limited 
to any one source of inspiration, but like the Garden of Eden 
watered by the influence of a fourfold stream and hence likely 
to be harmoniously developed and symmetrical." For even in 
those days prophetic intimations of the special form of the life 
of each of these four commonwealths were already visible. 
Even then Massachusetts was the home of the cultured and 
refined, the men of high ideals, broad in faith and lofty in vis- 
ion, prophesying that she would be the home of schools and 
colleges, philanthropists and reformers. Even then Connecti- 
cut was the land of steady habits, of conservative instincts, of 
plodding industry, prophetic of her after life as the coming 
home of toiling mechanics, and the seat of staid, sober, quiet, 
unchanging villages. Already Vermont was the home of the 
best type of farmers, wdiose sturdy manhood should even as 
untrained militia defeat the best troops of Europe at Benning- 
ton, and come forth as victors of one of the decisive battles of 
the world. And such has she been ever since. And even then 
New York, as the receiver of the newly arriving life of every 
part of Europe, was already taking on her cosmopolitan char- 
acter and becoming in the power and wealth of her varied life, 
the Empire State. From all these different sources our first 
explorers may have foreseen that settlers would come and form 
in their amalgamation that perfected life which comes alone 
from the combination of the most diverse elements. 

As they stood upon this ridge and beheld these towering 
hills and beautiful valleys they may have seen one thing more 
and that was, that here was the combination in one scene of 
both the sublime and the beautiful. And seeing this they may 
have said, "Here is the perfection of surrounding environment, 
here are the wild mountains in their sublime magnificence, cal- 
culated to develop manly and sturdy qualities, to make brave, 
martial, courageous men, inured to toil and thoughts and ima- 

150th Anniversary Town of Lanesborough. 283 

ges of grandeur, and on the other band liero are the hillside 
slopes with their gorgeous beauty, calculated to polish and refine 
this strength with the graces that beautify and adorn. [Jere 

may be expected to arise that union of both the masculine and 
feminine graces, from which alone rare and typical characters 

Such rcllections we may well believe passed through the 
minds of our explorers as they first gazed upon these scenes 
and decided to make them their future home. Was their sa- 
gacity justified by the result ? The story we arc about to relate 
may help us give an answer. 

A petition to the General Court was signed in 1742 by 70 
inhabitants of Framingham for a grant of. wilderness land upon 
the llousatonie river just north of an Indian town. This peti- 
tion was granted January 8, 1742, and the petitioners were 
directed to survey six square miles, have it divided into 7!) lots, 
one for each petitioner, one for the first settled minister, one 
for the support of the ministry and one for the support of pub- 
lic schools. This grant was conditional on there being within 
three years at least 00 families settled with a house on each lot 
of at least 18 feet square, and a portion of the land fenced and 
plowed ; that there be also a convenient meeting house, and 
that a learned and orthodox minister be settled ; the proprietors 
were required to give bonds that these things be done. This 
was at once done and the plots of numbered lots as entered in 
the town records October 19, 1742, can be readily analyzed, 
and the residence of each proprietor determined. Owing to 
numerous Indian forays growing out of King George's war it 
was not easy to clear the land and form a settled community. 
The first pioneers were twice driven out by Indians, and even 
after settlers grew more numerous it was thought wise to erect 
two forts within which the women and children might be 
placed while the men were engaged in labor at a distance. 
Settlers began to arrive from Connecticut in 1753, the first 
being Nathaniel Willcocks, who settled on the lot just north of 
this church, and subsequently lost it to the Bradley family by 
the since familiar process of endorsing notes. 

284 Berkshire Historical Society. 

Other families began to ascend the Iloi^atonic valley from 

Connecticut, (then called "Down Country"), especially from 
Stamford, Newtown, New Milford and Salisbury; the Bradleys, 
Meades, Shermans, Woods and Newtons being among the 
number. It is worth noting that it was about the same time, 
1701, that quite a number of towns in the county were Bettlcd, 
the fact probably being that about that time all fear of trouble 
from hostile Indians was permanently dissipated. That the 
neighboring population, however, was not large is evidenced by 
the fact that the survey of the town described it as bounded on 
the south by an Indian town and on the north, east, and west 
by wilderness. It adds to our respect for our first settlers to 
find that while things were still in this primitive condition, one 
of the first things done was to appoint a committee to secure a 
preacher of the gospel. This committee was composed of two 
Congregationalists and one Episcopalian, which fairly repre- 
sented the relative proportion between the two denominations. 
An unusual degree of harmony seems to have existed between 
the two denominations, and an effort was made to secure a min- 
ister agreeable to both. Rev. Daniel Collins was settled as the 
town minister in December, 1708, which office he held tor the 
period of 58 years. Mr. Collins was one of the old continental 
gentry who always dressed with queue and knee-buckles, and 
whose manner was that of the courtly aristocrat. He always 
exacted the conventional marks of respect from those; he met, 
and would enter formal complaints against children who omit- 
ted them. His whole manner was one calculated to kindle 
profound reverence from others, and children seeing him at a 
distance would sometimes hide behind the stone wall till he had 
passed by. His long ministry in this place, as well as the fact 
that though a strong Tory all through the Revolution, he was 
never troubled in his position, combine to show that to an un- 
common degree he possessed the confidence and esteem of all. 
In one respect, however, he did not succeed in giving universal 
satisfaction. Although from Connecticut he had no trace of 
Episcopacy about him, and before long the Episcopalian ele- 
ment began to grow restive and sought to have services of 
their own. In October, 1707, the Rev. Samuel Andrews of 

[50th Anniversary Town of Lanettborough 


Wallingford, Conn., came to this town, then recently settled. 
lie found a number of church families ill at case in their reli- 
gious surroundings and anxious for the services of their own 
communion. He held services in the house of William Brad- 
Icy, just north of where we are now, and baptized a number of 
children. From that day to this services have been continued. 
At first a school house opposite the Baker tavern was used, 
afterwards a brick building just south of the present rectory. 
In 1785 a church was erected on the same spot where the pre- 
sent one stands, only facing southwards. This building was of 
wood, had a gallery on three sides and a seating capacity of 
300. The stone which formed the entrance to the old church 
serves the same purpose in the present one. The land on 
which the church stood was donated by William Bradley, the 
lot being subsequently enlarged by gifts from William BraiHey 
and Laban Lasell. In 1770 a call was extended to the Rev. 
Gideon Bostwick to take the pastoral oversight over the parish 
in connection witli his work at Great Harrington and other 
places. This call lie accepted and officiated one Sunday a 
month for 23 years. Mr. Bostwick was born in New Milford, 
Conn., in 1742, and was brought up as a Oongregationalist. 
AVhile at Yale college he became interested in the Episcopal 
church and soon transferred his allegiance. Going to Great 
Harrington to act as school teacher he was induced to assist in 
the services of St. James' church as lay-reader. From this the 
transfer to becoming a minister of the church and rector of the 
parish was a matter of a very short time, lie was of course 
obliged to go to England for ordination, a matter which in 
those days occupied no little time and was attended with no- 
little danger, but he safely passed through all and returned to 
be for a quarter of a century the mainstay of all the church 
work of Berkshire county. 

Throughout the Revolutionary war Mr. Bostwick's sympa- 
thies were understood to be Tory; but as he was universally 
respected and refrained from overt acts of hostility to the Col- 
onial cause, he was not disturbed by the authorities, despite the 
tension of public sentiment at the time. lie, however, availed 
himself of the oiler of the British government to assist the 


Berkshire Historical Society. 

Church of England clergymen in America, and sent live child 
ren to Canada who were maintained by the English. These 
children all grew up and became well-to-do and prominent; 
one of them becoming a colonel in the British army, in which 
capacity he served in the war of LSl^. 

Mr. Bostwick was widely known for the solemnity and 
reverence with which he rendered the Church service; hut 
this solemnity was the product of no artificial sanctimonious- 
ness, for lie was noted for his good cheer and wit in private 
conversation. He was also noted for accurate scholarship, and 
that too in a day when among Episcopal clergy it required a 
considerable degree of attainment to excite remark ; the candi- 
dates for orders being thoroughly drilled by private teachers 
educated in England, in all t lie minutiae of classical scholarship '■> 
it being no uncommon thing for candidates for orders to be 
asked to defend the positions they assumed by arguments in 
the Latin language, and also to be asked to translate at sight 
from Greek into Latin.. It was during Mr. Bostwick's rector- 
ship that the church in the United States passed from a mere 
dependency of the Church of England into being a free and 
independent national church. A short time after this entrance 
upon a new era St. Luke's parish was also called upon to make 
a change. Mr. Bostwick suddenly died, and his recently ap- 
pointed assistant, Mr. Burhans, became his successor. Daniel 
Burhans was of Dutch antecedents. His father was pool", his 
mother sickly and burdened with a large family. He had no 
other Opportunities of learning beyond wdiat was possible in 
three or four months of attendance on the district school each 
year; — surely not a very cheerful outlook for one desirous of 
{raining; an education. But so zealous was he that his teachers 
became interested in his progress, and one of them promised 
that if he could be fitted for college, he might look for assist- 
ance in undertaking a college course. Young Burhans eagerly 
set himself to work and at last was ready. As the commence- 
ment of the college year grew near he journeyed some 20 
miles to his old teacher's house to see about the promised assist- 
ance. What was his disappointment at finding his benefactor 
at the point of death and all possibility of assistance from this 

150//* Anniversary Town, of Zaneaborough. 287 

quarter at an end. Thus foiled of his intended purpose he cast 
about for some other i'onn of intellectual activity, and being 
offered the principalship of the Academy in the north part of 
Lanesborongh he accepted and took up his residence in this 
town, his house being a little north of that now occupied by 
Sidney Newton. 

While lie was engaged in teaching at this place the town was 
visited by one of the old-time New England revivals. Mr. 
lhirhans, who had always been under Congregationalist influ- 
ences, was somewhat repelled by some features of this revival, 
and while exercised in mind over his growing divergency from 
{\m religious teaching of those with whom he was associated, a 
friend placed in his hands a copy of the 39 articles of the 
church of England; on reading these he was struck with their 
correspondence with the views he had independently formed, 
lie soon changed his church relations and on Mr. Bostwick's 
solicitation was ordained deacon in order that he might assist 
in the services of the church, especially in the rector's fre- 
quently prolonged absences. Although this was done with no 
thought of discontinuing teaching. Providence who had larger 
things in view for Mr. Burlians, ordered otherwise, and on Mr. 
Bostwick's unexpected death soon afterwards, Mr. Burhans 
was constrained to take full charge of the parish and eventually 
abandoned his school. 

Mr. Burhans remained in Lanesborongh for about six years 
more, and then removed to Newtown, Conn., where he re- 
mained during his active ministry, lie was a man of large, 
commanding appearance, ruddy face, quick nervous move- 
ments, and never allowed the natural conservatism of old age 
in any way to check his sympathies with constant progress. 

lie lived to the ripe age of 91, being married five times, 
lie was prominent in many church movements, being associated 
with the organization of the General Theological Seminary and 
with the first beginnings of the church in Pittsfield. 

During his rectorship Massachusetts was formed into a dio- 
cese, and Bishop Bass commenced the exercise of the Episco- 
pate. At the first convention, despite the difficulty of travel- 

288 Berkshire Historical Society. 

ing long distances, St. Luke's clmrcii was represented by Daniel 
Burhans and Stoddard Williams. 

Previous to this, Berkshire County was connected with the 
Diocese of Connecticut, and in fact it was not fur .some con- 
siderable time that a bishop of Massachusetts visited this por 
tion of the State. 

For about a year after Mr. Burhans' removal the [lev. 
Gamaliel Thatcher officiated here in connection with other 

In 1803 the Ilev. Amos Pardee was settled in Lanesborough, 
where he remained 16 years. In after years he acted as mis- 
sionary in New York State, dying in 1S49. During his rector- 
ship the present rectory was built, William, Joel, and Ephraim 
Bradley being the principal donors. In 1 SOU the lot of land 
connected with the rectory was enlarged to the present dimen- 
sions by the gift of William Bradley. There was a former 
rectory standing near the present horse-sheds on the south side 
of the church ; what is left of this now is a woodshed con 
nected with the tenant house of C. T. Farnum. 

It was during Mr. Pardee's rectorship that the first visit of a 
bishop was made to Berkshire County ; Bishop Griswold hav- 
ing just entered upon his duties. The story as told by Dr. 
Stone, then a child in Southern Berkshire, may be of interest. 
"I well remember the visit which, in live weeks after his con- 
secration, Bishop Griswold paid to the churches in the llousa- 
tonic valley, to Lanesborough, Lenox, and Great Barrington. 
It was the first time they ever had received a bishop and was 
therefore regarded as a most signal event. He came on the 
fourth of July, 1811, and amid the ringing of bells, the tiring 
of cannon, and the huzzas of those shouting for the liberties of 
their country, 128 persons knelt down at the chancel rail of the 
little church in Great Barrington before the first bishop who 
had ever spoken within their walls, and received the hand of 
blessing. And as they did so they all felt that he Mas a man 
whose thoughts were much in heaven ; all realized that there 
was in his presence a something spiritual not found in other 
men. And many found that with him came the prayer that 

150th Anniversary Town of Lanesborough. 289 

availeth much and tlie anointing of that Holy One who 
tcacheth to know all things proh'table to salvation." 

The manner of conducting services at this period and the 
method of pastoral visiting were quite common in both the 
larger cities and smaller country towns. The surplice was not 
used at all. (In this parish not till within 40 years.) The 
reading of the commandments, epistle, and gospel on occasions 
when there was no communion was very rare. As to the 
method of visiting, I quote from a pastoral letter of one of the 
leading bishops of Mr. Pardee's time. Speaking of the neces- 
sity of knowing the people well, lie says to the minister: 
"Start early in the morning with your horse to visit the people. 
Breakfast with one family, and then spend an hour in religious 
conversation, dine with another and spend an hour in conversa- 
tion ; take tea with a third and follow it in the same manner ; 
pursue this course daily till you have made a complete round 
of your parish ; then devote a few weeks to study and then re- 
sume the same mode of visiting again." 

In 1820 the Rev. Aaron 'Humphrey was called to the rector- 
ship, which he held for ten years. Mr. Humphrey subsequent- 
ly resided in the west and died in Beloit, Wis., in 185S. Dur- 
ing this period the church was legally incorporated, the date 
being Feb. 23, 1823, and on the following Easter Monday, 
March 31, the parish was legally organized; the wardens elected 
being Peter B. Curtis and William Bradley. In 1827 the 
church was repaired at a cost of $350, the money being raised 
by taxes on the pews. 

In 1821 a subscription paper was started for the establish- 
ment of a fund, the interest of which should be used to defray 
the expense of maintaining public worship. Ephraim Bradley, 
Laban Lasell, and Nehemiah Talcott were the largest contribu- 
tors to this fund, which now amounts to nearly $10,000. The 
communion-set now used by the parish was donated about this 
time by Bishop Griswold and Dr. Stone, whose account of the 
Bishop's first visit we quoted from above. During this rector- 
ship a Parish Missionary society was established, and (largely 
through the labors of a member of this parish) similar societies 
were established in most of the parishes of the state. A church 

2^0 Berkshire Historical Society. 

was also planted in the town of Ashfield by the labors of Mr. 
Humphrey. From 1320-21 the parish was supplied by Dr. 
Chapman, who officiated half of the time in Pittsfield. 

In 1831 perhaps the most important single event in the 
history of the parish transpired. I refer of course to the invita- 
tion extended to the Rev. S. B. Shaw of Guilford, Vt., to settle. 
as rector. Mr. Shaw's letter of acceptance may be of interest. 
Omitting a few sentences relating to matters of temporary 
interest only, it is as follows: "I have new officiated for you 
on several occasions and visited the greater portion of your 
parish; whether my visits have been acceptable I cannot tell, 
or whether I should be able to advance the interest of your 
church is known only to Him whose agents we are. For my 
own part, however, although I find your condition less prosper- 
ous than I hoped to find it, and although in coming I shall be 
compelled to make many sacrifices, to part with faithful and 
long tried friends, and to enter upon a field of labor which will 
require the most untiring industry and patience, nevertheless 
I have thought proper to accept of your invitation upon the 
performance on your part of the following conditions: (After 
speaking about vacations and revisiting his old parish at, (J nil- 
ford occasionally until a new rector should be settled), he goes 
on to say, "Third, 1 shall expect that your parsonage house will 
be sufficiently enlarged and improved to make it a pleasant, 
convenient, and comfortable residence for a large and respect- 
able family, which is not now the ease; that a convenient 
wood-shed and carriage-house be attached to it, and that the 
whole concern, including fences, be put in good repair and 
kept so. Fourth, I shall expect to receive a salary (in addition 
to the enjoyment of the Glebe property, which, except the 
house, will not be worth much to me) of $500, which J pre- 
sume is as small a sum as will support my family respectably 
and enable me to exercise the duties of charity and hospitality. 
Fifth, with regard to wood, which, although a small matter 
when divided among a whole parish, is an important item in the 
expense of a clergyman, I shall leave it altogether to your 
generosity, believing that whatever your circumstances will en- 

150ih Anniversary Town of. Lanesborough. '21)1 

able you to do to render your minister comfortable, will Ik; 
cheerfully and willingly performed." 

The conditions appear to have been agreed to, for Mr. Shaw 
was settled and remained for 34 years as rector. I regret to 
find, however, frequent references in the records of the annual 
Easter business-meetings to arrearages and delays in paying Mr. 
Shaw's salary. 

The names of the first class presented by Mr. Shaw for 
confirmation arc of interest. They are as follows:— 

Mrs. Miles Powell, Mrs. Deborah Goodrich, 

Miss Maria Curtiss, Miss Louisa Cnrtiss, 

Miss Jane Butler, Miss C. 1 hitler, 

Miss Jane Eoote, Miss Tirzah Harrison. 

The early days of Mr. Shaw's ministry witnessed stirring 
scenes in both church and state. It was in the time of the 
attempted nullification of Federal laws by South Carolina, the 
first beginning of acts which culminated in secession and conse- 
quent civil war; it witnessed the rise of the Oxford movement 
in the church; the publication of the famous Essays and 
Reviews; the conflict of high church and low church, and 
broad church, and ritualistic parties; it witnessed the death of 
Bishop Griswold and the accession of Bishop Eastburn, and the 
inauguration of more aggressive movements for church exten- 
sion ; it witnessed the organization of domestic and foreign 
missions in the Episcopal church on a firm basis, and the 
abandonment of the old style of confining the ministrations of 
the church to families brought up as church people, and half 
apologizing for presuming to do even this. Throughout the 
fresh, stirring life of those days and the controversies incident 
to them, Mr. Shaw kept always a cool head and was pre-emin- 
ently a man of peace. He was characterized not by remark- 
able gifts in some one direction, accompanied by corresponding 
defects in all others, but by a remarkable poise and symmetry 
of character, was remarkably well balanced, wise, judicious, 
sensible; and while some might be over sanguine and others 
unduly depressed, he was always sound in judgment, even and 
hopeful in temperament, always consistent and firm and to be 

202 Berkshire' Historical Society. 

depended on ; alike the friend and counsellor of the old, the 
middle aged, and tlie young; one who could rejoice with them 
that did rejoice and weep with them that wept, and hi;, in the 
hestsenseof the words, all things to all men. With his happily 
constructed disposition he lived long years among his people 
until partial blindness and the growing infirmities of years 
called for a temporary rest from active service. His life was 
one prolonged practising of the Prophet's injunction, k ' Line 
upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little ;" 
a daily unostentatious sowing of good seeds whose fruits are 
found all over the land, and everywhere to the glory and praise 
of God. 

His letter of resignation reads as follows : " For reasons 
sufficiently urgent and obvious I resign the rectorship of St. 
Lukes's church. I cannot, however, withdraw from a connec- 
tion formed before most of you were born and which has ever 
been harmonious and pleasant without painful emotions, and 
without some degree of anxiety in regard to its results. The 
parish is now united and flourishing. Its members and re- 
sources have been much increased during our connection, and 
although the desire expressed by many friends for a longer 
continuance among them renders a separation more trying, a 
ministry of 4-1 years, 34 of which have been devoted to your 
service, justifies a temporary respite from parochial cares and 

Subsequently to Mr. Shaw's leaving St. Luke's parish his 
health was so far improved that for nearly 20 years longer he 
continued to labor in different fields, although not doing full 
work for a portion of the time. 

Soon after leaving Lanesborou&'h he received from Brown 
University the degree of Doctor of Divinity. At the time of 
his death he was the oldest clergyman of the church by years 
of ordination, and also the oldest graduate of Brown University. 
It is a singular fact that Dr. Burnhans was also the oldest 
clcrowman of the church at the time of his death, and that the 
same must have been the case, or very nearly the case, with 
Mr. Humphrey; rather a remarkable record, surely for a single 
small parish. .Before leaving Dr. Shaw, mention should be 

150$i- Anniversary Tow?i of Lanesborough. 21K 

made of what was perhaps the most important event in his 
ministry, that is the erection of the present church building. 

Jn LS36, live years after Mr. Shaw's arrival, a building com- 
mittee consisting of Alinon Ourtiss, Jason Newton, Stoddard 
Ilubhell, Sherman Cnrtiss, and Titus Wood contracted with 
William Babbit and Hiram Crandall to procure materials for 
and erect a church 60 by 44 feet, walls 2(5 feet high, to he 
finished in as good style as the church in Pittsfield, for $2250 
and the material of the old church. They also contracted with 
Solomon Stoddard to prepare the walls, lath, plaster with three 
coats of hard finish, and put up chimneys, raise tower the same 
as the Pittsfield church, for $750. On Easter, 1830, the old 
church was opened for the last time ; on the next day it was 
taken down , by June the walls of the new church were raised ; 
by duly the tower was raised; in September it was lathed, 
plastered and painted ; on Christmas day it was opened for the 
first time. During the interval the congregation worshiped in 
the stone school-house. In addition to the sums mentioned, 
considerable more was in point of fact expended for labor and 
materials. One or two items may be of interest : — 

There was paid to Jason Newton for plank, $45 ; Abial 
Piatt for stone, $177; John Farnum for lime, $48 ; Benjamin 
Paul Pratt for stone, oil, and paint, $127; Leonard Scott and 
Almon Ourtiss for work, $55; parties in Pittsfield for supplies 
and work, $200 ; making the total cost of church $3094.07. 

On Monday preceding the opening of the church the pews 
were sold for $3200. The prices paid for some of the pews 
(which have remained in substantially the same families ever 
since) may be of interest: — 

Almon Ourtiss, $115 ; Nehemiah Talcott, $110, $100 ; Titus 
Wood, $100, $31 ; Bradley Sherman, $95 ; Laban Lasell, $200 ; 
Eli Bradley, $105, $85, $40 ; Stoddard Hubbell, $125 ; Jason 
Newton, $150, §60; Joel Bradley, $100; Asahel Sherman, 
$100. Edward A. Newton also gave $100 for a pew for the 
Rector's family and also $100 for a pew for elderly people. 
The remaining pews which would make too long a list to be 
given in full, were sold at prices ranging from $95 to $20. It 
is noticeable that among the purchasers were Judge Savage and 

29-1 BerkuMre Historical Society. 

Henry Shaw, and that Bushrod Buck purchased a pew to be 
fur the use of the pour. In addition to this sale of pews some 
money was raised by subscription, the largest doners being La- 
ban Lasell, $300; N. Talcott, $200; Jason Newton, $200; 
Eli Bradley, $250 ; Asahel Sherman, $200; Edward A.Newton, 
$200. Laban Lasell also purchased a piece of ground to en- 
large the cliurch lot. 

A new organ was placed in the church about the same time, 
costing $354, Edward A. Newton and Laban Lasell being the 
principal donors. This was supplanted in 18G2 by the present 
organ, costing $800, Edward A. Newton, Jedediah Newton and 
William T. Filley being the largest subscribers, the old organ 
being sold to St. John's church, North Adams. 

The church has been several times repaired and beautified, 
notably in 1855, being frescoed and carpeted and the present 
blinds being put on. In 1846 a chandelier was purchased from 
St. Stephen's church, Pittsneld. On July 22, 1858, the church 
was struck by lightning during the night on the north west 
pinnacle of the tower, leaping from this to the roof and tearing 
the rafters on both sides and entering the church by the north 
east window, passing from thence to the ground, tearing every- 
thing in its course. This necessitated considerable repairs, the 
first of which was naturally the placing of lightning-rods in 
position. Of the money required for these repairs Edward A. 
Newton was the principal donor. 

After Dr. Shaw's resignation, the llev. Lewis P. Clover, D. 
D., was called to the rectorship, which position he held till 
1807. His subsequent ministry was mostly in the Middle 
states, lie is residing at present in Poughkeepsie, N. Y. 
During his incumbency extensive changes were made in the 
chancel and a new robing-room was erected. 

We notice at this stage of the parish's history the beginning 
of a new order of things which has continued to the present 
time. Previous to this time not the slightest mention of any 
ladies' work is found in the records, but on this occasion we 
find it stated that the ladies raised all the money. The men, 
however, responded the following year by raising $700 for a 

150^A Anniversary Town of Laneauorongh. 295 

new boll, the largest donors being Asahel Shonnau, Henry 
Farnum, and Chaunecy Filley. 

From 1808 to 187! the Rev. William 0. .Mills was rector. 
[lis subsequent ministry was in the West. A short time ago 

lie died in San Francisco, holding at that time the position of 
city missionary. During his residence some $1300 was ex-. 
ponded for improvements on the rectory and repairs on the 
church rendered necessary on account of damage inflicted hy a 
violent tornado. Following Mr. Mills was the Rev. Francis 
Gilliat, who remained oidy about six months. He has since 
officiated in several parishes in different Eastern states. lie is 
at present stationed at Canaserega, N. Y. 

Following him was the Rev. J. S. Pearce, rector from Sept. 
1871 to Sept. 1873. Mr. Pearce subsequently spent eleven 
years as rector of St. John's church, Portsmouth, K. J. 

For about six months after this the Itev. Joshua Morsel 1, D. 
D., was rector, lie went from here to City Island, N. Y\, 
where he died a short time since on Christmas day while in the 

From 1875 to 1879 the Rev. C. C. Adams was rector. Dur- 
ing his incumbency the west end of the church was beautifully 
decorated ; also the (Hebe was much improved. Mr. Adams 
subsequently labored in Michigan and Iowa, and is now resid- 
ing in Connecticut. 

On Sept. 4, 1880, the Rev. 0. J. Palmer commenced Ids 
labors, which have continued to the present time. Within this 
period the church has beeen re-painted, re-carpeted and re- 
cushioned ; the pews also have been altered ; likewise two 
stained-glass windows have been placed in position. These 
improvements have been rendered possible by much hard work 
on the part of the ladies, supplemented by large gifts from 
Mrs. David L. Seymour and family. Lamp-posts have also 
been placed in front of the church and a new bell procured by 
the liberality of Mrs. J. W. Newton. 

But to resume the narrative of the civil history of early days. 
Meanwhile the town was growing and January 20, 1705, was 
incorporated. As it was about this time that many other set- 
tlements were made in this region, the towns comprising it 

296 Berkshire Historical Society. 

were organized into a county by themselves and were many of 
them incorporated about the same time, and Gov. Bernard was 

called upon to assign names to them. This he did, drawing oil 
the names of persons or places with which he had been asso- 
ciated. Coming from Berkshire, Eng., he named the new 
county after his old home. The town next south of this was 
named after William Pitt., the prime minister. One member 
of the privy council at the time was the count of Lanesborough, 
and his wife was a person of considerable influence and popu- 
larity, as was shown by her being commonly called " Lovely 
Lanesborough." This suggested the name of the principal 
town of the county, which name, ad jective and all, it has borne 
ever since. 

To this region, now rapidly developing, an unusually large 
percentage of the courtly and aristocratic elements of the State 
began to How, including a large number of college graduates. 
The new community began to take the front rank, which for 
many years it was destined to hold, in fact for about SO years, 
until the tremendous advantage which 'the building of the rail- 
roads through certain other towns gained for them the place of 
rank which otherwise they never could have secured. Although 
not near the centers of Revolutionary disturbance,Lanesborough 
was among the first to take a stand for liberty. Three dele- 
gates from Lanesborough were at the conference at Stockbridge 
July 0, 1774, to calmly but firmly assert the rights of Ameri- 
cans. And at the State convention soon after, Peter Cnrtiss of 
Lanesborough was a member of the committee that brought in 
the resolutions to abstain from tea while it should be taxed, and 
on Aug. 31st (still two years before the Re volution) the town 
voted $100 for powder and lead ; and a Committee of Safety 
was appointed consisting of Peter B. Curtiss, Gideon Wheeler, 
Francis Giteau, Jedediah Ilubbell, Nathanael Williams and 
Miles Powell, descendants of all of whom are well known to 
this vicinity. Of these Mr. Curtiss was afterwards well known 
as the first representative in the Legislature from Lanesborough, 
and Dr. Giteau is conspicuous as an ancestor of the notorious 

1507/* Anniversary Town of Laneeborough. 297 

Throughout the war devotion to the cause of Independence 
continued unabated, and while there were a few Tories, the 
enormous list of Lanesborough soldiers on the side of independ- 
ence would seem as numerous as the able-bodied men in the 

town could possibly have been. And though the town records 
give many a pathetic bit of evidence to what straits the people 
were brought, yet their votes show how little thought of look- 
ing back ever crossed their minds. 

But the end at last came and peace and independence were 
assured. But still much remained to he done. As in other 
parts of t^ie country so in this county the disorders induced by 
the war and the increased acquaintance with French customs 
and opinions induced great laxity in religious observances and 
in the tone of public morals. An idea of the state of things in 
the neighboring towns at this time may be gained by noticing 
one or two incidents occurring in three adjoining villages, in 
one of them, just after the war, an old minister who came to 
revisit his people after an absence of a few years found things 
as follows: ''There was no convenient place in which to as- 
semble for public worship; Inquiry was made whether the 
former meeting-house could not be fitted up for the purpose 
for one Sabbath; but it was found to be impracticable, as the 
windows were broken, the doors had fallen down and the floor 
had long been occupied by sheep. It was further said that if 
a meeting should be appointed anywhere else, there would be 
but little interest taken in it, and but few would attend. It 
was common to devote the day to visiting, to sitting in taverns 
and to horse-racing." So much for the state of things in one 
of our neighboring towns. 

In another, it is related that when a meeting was called to 
settle a minister, no sooner had the question been put than 
every person present left the room as though to show, by not 
taking the trouble to vote at all, their contempt for the whole 

Of still another town it is stated in a pamphlet written at 
this time, " In this village the tongue of slander, like the busy 
hopper of a mill, is never idle ; old grudges and aspiring ambi- 
tion continue to feed the flame. 

208 Berkshire Historical Society. 

If these (and they are hut samples of many similar state- 
ments) fairly represent the condition of the times it is not 
likely that Lancsborough altogether escaped the infection. 
Although religion certainly was never openly contemned, the 
proofs of moral laxity are unhappily abundant ; as to the fre- 
quency of slander and political vituperation it is at least sug- 
gestive that when Dr. Jhirhans revisited Lanesborougb soon 
after, lie took as the subject of his sermon, " Sins of the 
Tongue," as though this were a peculiarly appropriate subject. 

In civil affairs matters were in a \avy unsettled and threat- 
ening condition. Riots and anarchy were rampant. And for 
a long time it was uncertain whether the colonies were to rise 
to the level of their opportunity and form a strong, stahle gov- 
ernment, the future home of uncounted millions, where were to 
he solved the problems which the old world had failed to meet, 
or on the other hand were to he a mere horde of pretty princi- 
palities, without power, influence or prestige, unable to affect 
the destinies of the world for either good or ill. Seldom have 
the destinies of the world hung on a slenderer thread than 
when the federal constitution was being debnted by the several 
states and its fortunes hung trembling in the balance. Massa- 
chusetts was one of the most important of the states. The 
convention of Massachusetts when it assembled had an un- 
doubted majority of members purposing to vote for rejection. 
Hut in the providence of God this was not to be. A little town 
among the Berkshire hills had sent a very large man to the con- 
vention, — a man of whom Daniel Webster afterwards said that 
"of all the men he had known this was the one most characterized 
by sound sense, correct principles and a correct judgment as to 
public affairs." Jonathan Smith addressed the convention in 
a speech (which all may read in the Madison papers) character- 
ized by wonderful adroitness, worthy of the acutest lawyer in 
discarding all adventitious issues and presenting the subject in 
the true light of the supreme momentousness of the situation. 
His speech did the work. The constitution was ratified, other 
states fell into line. The United States became a nation and 
entered on the work that is to remould the world. Well may 
Lanesborougb name her chief hill "Constitution hill." for what- 

160th Anniversary Town, of Lanesborough. 291) 

over high calling Providence may have in store for her she is 
not likely ever to do a work of more lasting consequence than 
when she sent her chiefest son to the constitutional convention 
of a century ago. 

But though Jonathan Smith was her greatest son and his 
work her greatest contribution to the world's life, yet Lanes- 
borough had other sons made of similar kind of stuff who were 
associated in the inception of other important things. Men 
like Henry Shaw, the friend and confidant of the chiefest 
statesmen of the land, and his son, the chiefest of all the hu- 
morous writers America has produced, whose gifted pen has 
penetrated and shattered many an abuse which mere sermons 
would have assailed in vain; there were men like Uriirirs, the 

> no ' 

renowned governor of the commonwealth, and Barnes the 
surgeon-general of the United States, and Volk, the celebrated 
sculptor, and Talcott, who, strong in everything he touched, 
always placed religion and virtue first, who was always at his 
post in church, even walking twelve miles after midnight when 
detained away from home late on Saturday, rather than he ab- 
sent from church on Sunday morning; there was Ilubbell, who 
in a long life of 100 years, was always a tower and pillar of 
strength to every good cause, whose devotion to religion was 
such that when deafness made it impossible otherwise to hear 
the minister, he always sat in the pulpit by the minister's side, 
so as to hear every word and join intelligently in the services. 
There where the whole family of Bradleys, each worthy of a 
separate mention, and the Curtisses and Wheelers, always sure 
to be foremost in whatever they touched ; there was Newton, 
so long a chief pillar of this church, and Asa Barnes, one of 
the leading men of the country. There was Jabez Hall, prom- 
inent in the war of 1812; and there were many others, like the 
Shermans and Bucks and Williams and Farnums and Nonrses 
and Lassells and Woods and Bacons, to mention only those 
most prominent in the records of' 50 and 100 years ago, all 
able co-laborers with these in every good work. Under the 
guidance of such men as these the town rapidly grew and de- 
veloped. Even 70 years ago there were live hotels, three tan- 
neries, five shoe shops, three tailor shops, live blacksmiths, two 

300 Berkshire Historical Society. 

cloth-dressing factories, two wagon shops, live saw-mills, one 
mill for making spinning-wheels, besides the grist-mills, harness- 
shops and a number of stores; and chiefest of all the extensive 
business in marble quarrying. 

Some $200,000 worth of marble was sent to different parts 
of the country, much of which was used in the construction of 
the most prominent buildings. The interests of religion and 
education were also duly attended to. Eight large boarding 
schools, one at least accommodating as many as 150 pupils, have 
at different times been maintained. Some of these were patron- 
ized by pupils from the most distant points, and all stood high 
in the public estimation. The names of the old teachers. Bur- 
bans, Talcott, Tolman, Gilbert, Day, Knapp, Green and others, 
will awaken memories all over the land. In 1818, the Baptist 
church was organized through the efforts of Dr. William 11. 
Tyler and Gov. Briggs, and received its share of the money 
raised from public taxation. This society grew rapidly and 
for many years was a power in the community. In 183-1 there 
was a great revival which resulted in the conversion of 170 
persons. About 30 years ago a Methodist society was organ- 
ized which has always maintained its full share of influence in 
the town. 

A few of the things in the beginnings of which Lanesborough 
men were prominent may be mentioned. The first definite 
movement to plant the Episcopal church in every considerable 
town in Massachusetts was made as the result of a motion to 
that effect by the delegates from this parish, — the towns of 
Springfield, Worcester, Pittsiield and Northampton being es- 
pecially mentioned. The general theological seminary was 
called into being by a committee of the general convention, of 
which committee the rector of this parish was a member. The 
first movement to prepare missionary teachers for Africa was 
made at a gathering in which the same rector was a prominent 
participant. The first movement to establish missionary asso- 
ciations in the several parishes to interest them in work beyond 
their own borders was made by a visitation to every parish in 
the State, conducted by two gentlemen, one of whom was from 
this parish. The passage of the famous protective tariff bill 

150/A Anniversary Town of Lanesborough. 301 

of 1824, which was such an important epoch in the history of 
manufacturing in the whole United States, was largely due to 
the representative from this district whose home was in Lanes- 
borough. Lanesborough people were the principal originators 
of the first agricultural society formed in New England, which 
by annual exhibits and premiums has done much to develop 
the farming interests. It was on motion of the representative 
from Lanesborough that the Legislature directed that the dog 
tax should go to the support of public libraries. And it is a 
suitable recompense of this act that Berkshire County should be 
chief among the counties for size of libraries in proportion to 
the population, and that Lanesborough should have a larger 
library than even Boston itself, in proportion to the relative size 
of the two places. 

Such were the men of olden times in this fair village of the 
hills. Such were the men who went before you, expelled the 
Indians, felled the forests, subdued the soil. Such were the 
men who labored, and into whose labors you have entered. 

Your problems are not the same as theirs; but in the ever 
widening stream of human history, they may be not less but 
more. Theirs it was to prepare and make ready the way, to 
prepare one portion of a great land which was to be an asylum 
and refuge to all the oppressed and persecuted in all this wide 
and weary world, to afford a place and an environment where 
they could be remoulded and fashioned into a higher and sweeter 
and purer life. To prepare a land of freedom where every 
one could unfold and develope what was in him without let or 
hindrance. This they did ; and into this land strangers from 
all over the world are flocking in unprecedented numbers; even 
already about 50 per cent, of your inhabitants are of foreign 

It is your work, as that of every town in all this broad land 
to enter on this work, than which there could be no grander, 
of elevating, educating, redeeming, saving this seething throng, 
assimilating and Americanizing them ; to raise them to the 
highest moral stature by your schools, your libraries, your 
churches, and by the contagion of the atmosphere of your own 
sweet, pure lives. And in so doing you may find your own rich- 

302 Berkshire Historical Society. 

est gain. An illustration of our duties and our possibilities in 
this regard is found in a phenomenon of Nature whose fruits 
are at our very doors. Long centuries ago the hills and val- 
leys all about us had become exhausted of their wonted powers. 
The life they once had was all exhausted and they needed 
enrichment from without. In the good providence of God 
vast glaciers from the distant north began to move southward; 
they gathered up the rocks and soil of all the countries through 
which they passed; they brought them all in due course of 
time to the fields about us; at last melting, they deposited a 
vast mass of new soil thoroughly mixed and ground together, 
which proved to be just the addition that was needed to restore 
vitality and richness to the land. Some of the unused debris 
left by these dissolving glaciers, we see in the Wizard's Glen 
in our eastern border. In manner like to this, from time to 
time the original stock of a nation loses its freshness and pris- 
tine vitality ; and by processes almost as rigorous as the glaciers, 
God sends a new supply of strength from other regions. The 
replenishing the worn out strength of the Roman Empire by 
the vast influx of the Goths in their new, fresh life is but a 
familiar example of what is ever happening. Our own land, 
our own town has lost somewhat of the early, hardy vigor of 
the first settlers and begins to resemble the worn out fields. 
In accordance with the universal law, God is now sending to 
us vast hordes of new peoples by every white-winged messen- 
ger that crosses the Atlantic. They come here, among other 
reasons, to supply what we lack. If we arise to our opportu- 
nities, join earnestly in the work of amalgamating, assimilating 
these people, receiving from them what they have to bring 
and imparting to them of the fullness of our gifts, moulding 
all into one compact, American people, than the sun will have 
never shone upon a land as grand, as happy, as rich, and as pros- 
perous as ours. But if we shrink from the task because it is 
hard, because, like a glacial epoch, the process is unpleasing ; if 
we leave these people as an uneducated, unchristianized, un- 
Americanized mass in our midst, then just as when (as in the 
Wizard's Glen) the glacier melts before its work is finished, 
there is deposited a hugh mass of unground rock not only of 

150th Anniversary Town of La/nesborough. 303 

no profit but preventing even the little former vitality of the 
ground from asserting itself; so with us, we may by being 
derelict, have within our borders a huge, undigested foreign 
element, of no profit whatever, constantly a menace to our 
national life, and so the last state be worse than the first. 

This, then, is our task, surely not less in difficulty and in im- 
portance than was the work our fathers did. 

We may cry, alas ! we are not such men as they and can 
never do our work as they did theirs. Yes, it may be true that 
since their day the changing tendency has been downward, but 
perhaps we may find hope in the doctrine of atavism, that 
though variation from the ancestral type may be always going 
on, yet there is after a while the tendency to revert to the 
parent type. And so perchance in our very consciousness of 
degenerating variation we may see the promise of the approach- 
ing reversion to the faith and manhood of our fathers and so 
rise to the hope set before us. 

In thus fulfilling and carrying to perfection the work they 
laid down, the men who went before us are even now our eager 
witnesses and ready sympathizers and glad co-workers. 

On a day like this, and in a place like this, we feel them very 
near, for the air about us is laden with their presence. For 
though in the great heavens the largest spot on earth is but a 
tiny speck, yet as Webster said of the Dartmouth College of 
his day, so we may say of this town of Lanesborough, it is a 
little spot, but there are those that love it. And in that love 
your departed sons behold your work with tender sympathy, 
and to your answering love no task is hopeless, and in its 
strength all things are possible. 

Note : — It was the intention of the Berkshire Historical and Seientilie 
Soeiety to unite with the Lanesborough people in eelebrating the 150th 
anniversary ; but owing to unfavorable weather the Society did not visit 
Lanesborough till July 30,1890, when a Field Meeting was held at Bal- 
ance Hock, and addresses on the annals of the past and the promises of the 
future were made by Prof. A. L. Perry, Dr. I). E. Thayer, Prof. John 
Bascom, Rev. A. B. Whipple, Judge N. II. Bixby, and Mr. AV. G. Hard- 
ing. Nearly 300 people were present, and the oeeasion was a notable one 
in the history of the town. 





" Balance Rock, 1 ' illustrated above, is a bowlder which was 
brought to its present location from some point east of the 
Hudson river by glacial action. The stone on which it rests is 
of a different nature from the balanced rock. It was left poised 
where it now is by the ice river which carried it there melting 
from around it and releasing it at this spot. This was done at 
some time within 10,000 years. Ten thousand years from now 
this region will have a torrid temperature, and twenty -three 
thousand years from now rivers of ice, a new system of glaciers, 
will till the valley. 

The rock before us is nearly wedge-shaped, 25 by 15 by 10 
feet, containing about 1900 solid feet. With a specific gravity 
of 2.7 it will weigh not far from 165 tons. 


308 Berkshire Historical Society. 

Jt is called a bowlder, from bowl, to roll, as it has been 
bowled or moved from some more or less distant place to its 
present location. 

This bowlder and its bed rock are both limestone, but not 
alike, and so we infer that one was formed here and the other 
brought here by some agency. 

Two theories have been advocated ; one the iceberg and the 
other the glacial theory. We take the glacial theory, which 
will be briefly explained : 

Glaciers are vast frozen rivers, having their source, like riv- 
ers in general, among the mountains, where the accumulated 
snows do not melt, but by abundance and consequent pressure 
become compact. These masses of ice, by gravity, press toward 
the base of the mountains, aided by the warmer earth beneath. 
They do not slide down as an avalanche does, but by the slow 
process of thawing on the sides and bottom, move onward at 
the rate of eight or ten inches per day, or about a mile in 25 
years. I have seen the glaciers now moving among the Ber- 
nese Alps covering vast areas, looking, as I have seen the val- 
ley of the Hudson at sunrise from the summit of the Catskills, 
covered everywhere with fog, save here and there the highest 
hill tops. 

In their movements they conform to the valleys, and like 
converging streams, unite into one final glacier, whose termina- 
tion is far below the limit of perpetual snow and ice. 

Moving slowly along the rocky sides of the mountains they 
collect on each side the rocks and earth detached by frost 
and their own pushing power, and bear them onward. On each 
side of every valley there is a continuous row of these fallen 
rocks, called moraines. When two of these ice streams meet 
the inner moraines each unite and form a moraine out in the 
middle of the glacier, so there may be as many moraines as 
streams less one. In the high Alpine valley of the Grindel- 
wald I saw a glacier 12 miles long, 4 miles broad and 700 feet 
thick, like a perpendicular wall, slowdy pushing its way along, 
and yet in summer thawing faster than it moved, leaving the 
debris in front some distance from the glacier. In winter the 
thawing is less than the movement and the moraines are pushed 

Balance Jcock, Lanedborouyh. 309 

forward. Such movements have been hero in ages long past. 
Sometimes these glaciers reach the sen, and pushing out tu a 
great distance, are finally broken oil! and become icebergs or 
iee mountains. There are in Greenland to-day such glaciers20 
miles in width. 

It is not essential to the movement of a glacier that there he 
a down grade. The revolution of the earth is sufficient as for 
the waters of the Mississippi to How south. 

Dr. Iliteheock, in his Geological Survey of this State, notes 
that all drift is uniformly from the northwest to the southeast, 
and that no bowlders of any ledge are found north, east,or west 
of such ledge ; their size and number decrease as they go south. 

lie notes also that the direction of the mountains has little 
influence on the course taken ; and once more, that the present 
hills and valleys existed at the time or period of dispersion of 
bowlders. With these statements before us, let us study this 
locality and its surroundings. 

Most of the small stones we have passed over on the road 
near here and all along the eastern slope of the Taghkanic range 
in this county, are compact sandstone, of sharp, silicious grains, 
with various markings. That kind of stone has been brought 
hither from eastern New York, where the rock is of this kind, 
and helps illustrate the statement of Dr. Hitchcock that, gen- 
erally, bowlders are not transported many miles. 

Let us come directly to the rocks before which are metamor- 
phie limestone, a kind of rock in greater abundance in Berk- 
shire and of better qualities than in all the other sections of the 
commonwealth. This bed of limestone extends north to Can- 
ada, and south through eastern New York and New Jersey to 
Virginia, all formed at some time under the sea, and consists 
of the comminuted shells of marine origin. The little molnsks 
gathered the carbonic acid of the water to form their outside 
bones as we form our bones of the same material. 

Limestone may be known from all other minerals by its 
tendency to effervesce in vinegar and other acids. In its pri- 
mary condition it contains fossils. By means of heat it is so 
changed that the fossils become invisible. 

310 Berkshire Historical Society. 

The nietamorphic change may reveal itself in one, or all, of 
three ways : Solidifying, crystalizing and coloring, as when 
gray clay heated becomes red brick. Sometimes there is also 
a change of constitution, as when silicates and carbonates be- 
come glsiss. It is in this way gems are formed, topaz, sapphire, 
emerald and diamond. Crystallized limestone, when hard 
enough to receive a polish, is called marble. Its hardness de- 
pends upon the pressure at the time of nietamorphic change. 

For instance, limestone heated in the open air becomes quick 
lime and easily decomposes into powder; but under pressure 
the carbonic acid is retained and the mass becomes crystalline, 
and the greater the pressure the liner the grains. The heat 
causing the change was produced at the period when the 
earth was disturbed by uplifts, foldings and faultings, and so 
favorable to the escape of the earth's internal heat. The result 
of the uplift is seen in the bed rock supporting the boulder. 
An examination of the boulder and the bed rock indicate their 

You may note a difference in the direction of its plains, as 
well as of its bedding and cleavage. They are quite unlike 
also in hardness and color, yet both are nietamorphic. 

The predominant characters of Berkshire limestone are a 
white color and a crystalline structure. Pure carbonate of lime, 
or slightly mixed with magnesia, occupies the western part of 
the county. Dolomite is carbonate of lime and magnesia, with 
a tendency to crumble down and form a white sand. A law 
of chemical combination is, that the more numerous the ingre- 
dients the more feebly are they held together. It may be so 
in politics. 

The most noticeable limestone in this long range is called the 
Stockbridge limestone, though most noticeable at Lee, where it 
came first into notice in 1S50. It has a line texture and is 
capable of enduring a pressure of 20,000 pounds to the square 
inch, while ordinary limestone is crushed under a pressure of 
12,000 or 13,000 pounds on a square inch. Hence the public 
buildings in Washington are largely constructed of it. 

Coming back once more to this particular boulder, let me 
call your attention to the water-worn cavities. You may think 

Balance Rock, Lanesborough. 311 

they have been worn in its present location or during the gla- 
cial transportation. Neither is the fact. They were worn or 
formed in the bed rock before the upheaval and its movement 

In the Mammoth Cave in Kentucky I have seen many ample 
proofs in a great variety of water- worn forms. Indeed the 
whole cave itself, with more than 200 miles of water-worn 
passages, is a magnified example of the working of water under 
the surface. Last week I visited the lime quarry of Mr. Far- 
iiiiii), some four or five miles east of this place. There I saw, 
seventy-five feet below the surface, just such water- worn cavi- 
ties, vertical, oblique and horizontal, where a stream of good 
cold drinking water is now engaged in the same work' of water 
decomposing and wearing. 

Water has an affinity for carbonic acid and absorbs it wherever 
possible, from the atmosphere, the soil, and from carboniferous 
rocks. In thus decomposing the limestone it takes up particles 
of lime and bears them away, till in some other place it may 
percolate through a gravel bed, and slowly evaporating, cement 
the gravel into a conglomerate rock, or through a bed of fine 
sand, and thus form sandstone, or evaporating from pendant 
points, form stalactites, or evaporating from the cave ceiling 
cause those efflorescent forms of flowers adorning the ceiling 
of the Rosette or Star Chamber in Mammoth Cave. 

As there is carbonic acid in falling rain we may see how, in 
■ the long centuries, the surface of this boulder and its neigh- 
bors can have become smooth without attributing it to glacial 

Referring again to the section sketches we see three or four 
beds of limestone, one on the other side of the Taghkanic 
range, described as sparry limestone, while this under the 
boulder is called Richmond or Stockbridge limestone. Dr. 
Hitchcock so names it, quoting from Dr. Dewey and his chart 
of Berkshire county. So also Dr. Emmons, in his survey of 
New York, over-stepping into Berkshire county, iflakos like 
statements and drawings. You can see by the specimens that 
the boulder is sparry limestone and the bed rock is not. Where 
then did this boulder come from? It must be from this side 


312 Berkshire' Historical Society. 

of the St. Lawrence river, for all limestone north of it is fos- 
siliferous and therefore formed since the nietamorphic period. 

The Adirondaeks are mostly of granite formation. The 
region east of the Hudson consists of rocks more or less meta- 
morphosed — the sandstone passing into quartz rock — the blue, 
stratified limestones passing into the crystalline and white mar- 
bles, and the argillaceous slates of the Hudson River group pass- 
ing into silicious, talcosc and micaceous slates. So we find our- 
selves limited in our search to locations this side of the Hudson 
river and south of Lake Champlain. The exact spot remains 
for some future explorer. 

In answering the question, " How long since the transporta- 
tion?" let me introduce a new element into the calculation. 
Evidences abound of a Torrid Zone or climate in the Arctic 
regions. Since then the glacial period, and now a temperate 
climate. The internal heat of the earth will not, satisfactorily, 
account for these changes. Let us turn to the science of astron- 
omy for help. That science has proven and illustrated what is 
called the Precession of the Equinoxes, showing that the axis 
of the earth does not continually point to a lixed position in the 
northern sky we call the Pole Star. For instance the starThu- 
ban, (a Draconis,) was the Pole star when the pyramids were 
built 4,000 years ago. That star is now 25 degrees away from 
the present pole star, Polaris, and ten thousand years hence 
Yega, (a Lyra,) will be the pole star. Vega is now 38/4 de- 
grees north of the equator, that is within less than one-fourtli 
of a degree of the zenith over Washington Observatory. 

All this means that the north pole of the earth for the past 
4,000 years and more has been inclining towards the sun and 
so receiving more direct the sun's rays and so causing a warmer 
climate. Indeed the word climate is from a Greek word, mean- 
ing inclined. This orbit of nutation requires nearly 25,000 
years to complete a revolution. Ten thousand years from now 
this place will have a torrid temperature, and 23,000 years from 
now it will be a frigid zone, with all this valley filled with 
another system of glaciers. Some time within the past ten 
thousand years this boulder was left here, and probably less 
than fifty times a hundred years. 

J I "t